When is Flag Day?
Flag Day is a holiday that celebrates the creation and adoption of the American flag on June 14th. Also, Flag Day is the anniversary of the formation of the U.S. Army. This holiday coincides with National Flag Week, a time in which Americans reflect and celebrate democracy. Freedom is the ultimate symbol of the American flag, and is celebrated throughout the 21 days in between Flag Day and Independence Day.
Flag Day has quite the history. While it represents the American flag, it is about more than just displaying the national colors. The holiday first got its start on June 14, 1777 when Congress officially adopted a new flag. Even after the nation’s independence in 1776, the United States of America still had a flag that had symbols of Great Britain. To replace everything British once anf for all, Congress adopted a new flag, which had thirteen red and white stripes to represent the original thirteen colonies, as well as thirteen stars in a navy blue square. Betsy Ross was purportedly the seamstress of the flag, as selected by Congress. However, some historians debate the exact origination of the flag. Adopting a new flag gave the new “Union” a heightened sense of unity.
While the American flag itself is now over 230 years old, Flag Day is a relatively new holiday. It was first proposed in 1886 by a citizen, but the idea wasn’t taken seriously until the 1900s. President Wilson declared the first Flag Day on June 14, 1916. In 1949. President Truman made the first steps to making Flag Day an annual holiday. Finally, in 1966, Congress officially adopted the holiday and requested that flags be flown on all government buildings every June 14th.
In many ways, Flag Day has celebratory similarities to another patriotic holiday: Independence Day. Also called the 4th of July, Independence Day marks the day in which the United States officially declared separation from Great Britain. These two holidays are sometimes confused because of the predominance of the flag.
Unlike the fireworks and firecrackers set off on the 4th of July, Flag Day is primarily symbolized with the American flag. People don their homes, cars and places of work with the American flag during National Flag Week. At the same time, some citizens take special care in wearing the flag’s colors in conjunction with waving the stars and stripes on June 14th. Some organizations and businesses also offer flag-raising ceremonies to celebrate freedom, and to honor the Army.
Aside from flying the American flag, this holiday is also celebrated through other patriotic activities. Parades are commonplace on Flag Day, many of which include Army veterans. If school is in session, students often learn about the American flag and write essays. Singing the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is also commonplace on Flag Day.
While Flag Day is a holiday focused on the American flag, it is not the same thing as Independence Day. These two holidays are often mixed up due to their background and nature. Unlike Independence Day, which is a federal holiday, Flag Day is not considered a government holiday. This means that government offices and most businesses are opened on this day. The exception is Montour County, Pennsylvania—the historic area in which the American Flag was created.
Flag Day on June 14th refers to the patriotic holiday in the United States. Other nations have their own flag days, which are not the same holidays. For example, Flag Day in Mexico is celebrated on February 24th, while National Flag of Canada Day is on February 15th.
By: Kristeen Cherney
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