How much do you know about Flag Day? Is it a holiday you observe? Why is a holiday? For that matter, why isn’t it observed as a federal holiday, so we can all take the day off? We’ve got answers to everything you ever wanted to know about Flag Day and more!
- When is Flag Day? Flag Day is observed every year on June 14th, although it’s not considered a federal holiday.
- Why was that date chosen? June 14th is significant because on that day in 1777, the stars and stripes were designated by the Continental Congress as the official symbol of the United States of America, when they resolved “that the flag of the thirteen United States be Thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
- Has Flag Day always been a thing? Actually, no one observed Flag Day for about 100 years after the holiday was established. Then, in 1885, a patriotic young school teacher in Wisconsin named Bernard Cigrand brought a flag into his classroom, told his students that June 14th was the flag’s birthday, and asked them to write an essay on what the flag meant to them. For the rest of his life, Cigrand worked tirelessly, speaking publicly about the good that could come from a flag holiday, and writing pamphlets, articles, and books about American history and the importance of the flag. His efforts paid off, and by 1916, flag ceremonies on June 14th had become so common that President Woodrow Wilson designated Flag Day as an annual national event. It wasn’t until 1949, though, that June 14th was officially designated Flag Day, when President Harry S. Truman signed the holiday into law.
- Why isn’t Flag Day a federal holiday? In 1968, when the Uniform Holiday Act was instituted to designate official federal holidays, Flag Day didn’t make the cut. We’re not sure why it didn’t, but then again, it doesn’t have the strength of tradition that holidays like Washington’s Birthday have, and it doesn’t have a strong backing force like MLK Day or Labor Day.
- Does anyone get the day off for Flag Day? Sure! While it’s not a federal holiday, it is a state holiday in New York and Pennsylvania.
- Why should we care about Flag Day? Americans love their flag, not just because of sentiment, but because it represents true sacrifice, by the founding fathers and by veterans who have served our nation selflessly throughout its history. The flag has undergone some changes, as it has adjusted to reflect the national status, but it still waves proudly, representing the American values of freedom and liberty throughout the world.