It’s a day to proudly fly our flag
National Flag Day, tucked between Memorial Day and Independence Day, isn’t likely to attract the notice and spawn the patriotic fervor usually accorded to those other observances.
Although today’s observance is not a federal holiday, Flag Day still is important.
It commemorates the day in 1777 — June 14 — when the Second Continental Congress adopted a resolution designating what would forever be America’s banner. Since that day, the flag has stood for all the good synonymous with America and its people, and that isn’t going to change as long as the United States exists.
But despite the 1777 resolution, the Flag Day observance wasn’t established officially until Woodrow Wilson did so by way of a proclamation issued on May 30, 1916. The Wilson proclamation was followed by an Act of Congress to the same effect in August 1946.
Yet, it wasn’t until Aug. 3, 1949, that President Harry S. Truman affixed his signature to congressional action designating June 14 as National Flag Day.
Hopefully, people of Blair County — indeed, people of the Mirror’s entire coverage area — will create a sea of red, white and blue today by displaying their flags prominently. That would signal this region’s patriotic spirit and the fact that people here harbor a deep appreciation of all the positive things that America and its flag represent.
And, besides displaying the flag, people here should devote at least a few minutes in silent acknowledgment of the millions of men and women who have fought on behalf of this country’s freedom, including those who continue to do so. The flag is testament to that freedom.
The flag has had numerous makeovers over the past 242 years, the last two being when Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union in 1959. But none of the makeovers changed Americans’ pride in what the flag represents, or changed their opinions about its beauty and the strength that it proclaims.
The raising of a U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi by six Marines during the World War II battle for the island of Iwo Jima, 750 miles off the coast of Japan, captured in an iconic photograph, remains an image that this nation always will cherish.
Unfortunately, there’s never been much attention given to what’s believed to be Flag Day’s origin in 1885; probably only a fraction of Americans ever have heard the name B.J. Cigrand.
But it was Cigrand, a teacher in Fredonia, Wis., who arranged for his pupils to observe June 14 of that year — the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of the flag — as “Flag Birthday.”
According to historical accounts, Cigrand then continued to advocate observing June 14 at “Flag Birthday” or “Flag Day,” and the idea for an official day honoring the flag subsequently spread to other parts of the nation until, finally, President Wilson issued his 1916 proclamation.
Although Flag Day traditionally hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, it would be uplifting if that were to change. Despite the political division encompassing the nation, the flag represents all Americans.
There should be more acknowledgment of that as opposing sides attempt to promote their respective agendas and goals on whatever the issues.