You may not know it, but June 14th is National Flag Day.
Although this holiday doesn’t get a lot of attention, once you’ve given these Flag Day facts a read, you’ll hopefully want to fire up your grill to celebrate.
1. Flag Day was invented by a teacher.
Nineteen-year-old Bernard J. CiGrand walked into his one-room schoolhouse in Wisconsin in 1885, stuck a 10-inch flag in an inkwell, and asked his students to write an essay on its meaning. CiGrand spent the next 50-ish years writing in support of making Flag Day a national holiday.
He died of a heart attack 17 years before congress sealed the deal in 1949. However, parts of the U.S. celebrated Flag Day prior to congress making it an official holiday. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson recognized Flag Day in a statement.
2. The Flag Day inventor was destined for greatness.
Bernard’s parents were from Luxembourg, a tiny European country between France, Germany, and Belgium. The name “CiGrand” comes from a variation of the French for “so grand.” It only makes sense that he would be the one to champion our “Grand Ol’ Flag!”
3. Flag Day is the birthday of our Stars and Stripes.
Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th, because that was the day that Congress officially recognized it as the flag of the United States in 1777. Apparently, it wasn’t such a big deal at the time — the flag discussion was the fifth order of business that day. I wonder what was so important about the first four items?
4. It’s not just the flag’s birthday.
June 14th, 1775 is the date that congress formally authorized the enlistment of soldiers into what was then called the Continental Army.
5. Flag Day is not a federal holiday.
It’s a national holiday, but you won’t get the day off work unless you live in Pennsylvania, which recognizes it as a legal state holiday. It seems fitting that Pennsylvania would be the only state to do so, since that’s where the flag was born.
6. The National Flag Day Foundation spreads Flag Day awareness.
The foundation teams up with local groups like 4-H and VFW Scouts to spread the good word about the holiday and to keep the tradition going. They hope to have a flag in every classroom, cultivate a respect for this symbol of our country, and teach the history behind the flag. In fact, you may check your local community organizations to find events planned for the 14th in your own hometown.
You can find more information about Flag Day from The National Flag Day Foundation's website.