U.S. Flag Teacher Guide to Flag Day

When you think of American icons many items come to mind: the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, the eagle, the American flag. Every year on June 14, the United States celebrates the most recognizable American icon, our nation's flag.

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution that officially recognized and adopted the flag of the United States of America during their meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson made an official declaration to recognize June 14 as the day to celebrate the flag; however, it was not until August 1949 that National Flag Day was established through an Act of Congress.

Flag Day is not an official federal holiday (which means it is not a holiday that is marked by national observance through the closing of government offices); however, the presiding president does have the authority to declare and official observance. Pennsylvania is the only state in the US that has declared Flag Day to be a state holiday.

Flag Day celebrations usually take the form of a parade. The oldest running parade occurs in Fairfield, West Virginia and has been observed annually since 1909 or 1910. Other long running parades occur in Troy, New York; Appleton, Wisconsin; and Quincy, Massachusetts.

The first recorded observance of Flag Day was done by educator, Bernard J. Cigrand, a schoolteacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin. IN 1885, he and his students held the first recognized observance of Flag Day.

Each year, the week of June 14 is known as National Flag Week. During that time period, the president is charged with the task of making a proclamation which urges United States citizens to celebrate the adoption of our national flag by flying the flag during that week. Also, many areas hold parades and events surrounding the flag and what it represents.

The National Flag Day Foundation hold an official observance the second Sunday of June each year. This celebration includes a ceremonial presentation of the flag, a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem, parades and other events that are designed to raise awareness of our national flag and what it represents. More on the National Flag Day Foundation can be found at their website: www.nationalflagday.com. In addition to the annual celebration, the National Flag Day Foundation also sponsors an essay contest for high school students, maintains the Avenue of Flags, and provides educational materials regarding the American flag.

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