Flag Day: Happy 244th Birthday Old Glory

Published on June 14, 2021

By: Jeff Dunetz
This article originally appeared on The Lid and is republished here with permission.

With wokism, cancel culture, and CRC sweeping across the country, the Stars and Stripes should be a unifying symbol. As former President Trump, who was born on Flag Day, often said during his four-year term, “We are one people, with one destiny. We all bleed the same blood. We all salute the same flag. And we are all made by the same God.”

Flag Day 2021 falls on Monday, June 14th. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened 244 years ago on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress:

“Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The holiday of Flag Day had a very rough start. In 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, George Morris persuaded Hartford, Conn., to undertake a patriotic celebration on behalf of the Union. But the concept didn’t catch on, there or elsewhere.

Decades later, in 1885, a 19-year-old Waubeka schoolteacher named Bernard Cigrand plunked a small flag into an inkwell on his desk and assigned his students to write essays on patriotism. Later he traveled the country to promote respect for the flag, becoming president of the American Flag Day Association.

1888, William Kerr, son of a Civil War veteran, founded the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania, pressing presidents and legislators to make Flag Day official. In his hometown of Rennersdale, near Pittsburgh, a historical marker honors Kerr as the “Father of Flag Day.”

In 1889, New York City principal George Bolch had his school hold patriotic ceremonies to observe the day. State officials later expanded the program. In 1893, Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, head of the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania, worked to have public buildings in Philadelphia display flags – an effort that led one federal office to credit Philadelphia as Flag Day’s original home.

Still, Flag Day struggled for official recognition. It wasn’t until 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson issued a wishy-washy proclamation to “suggest and request. . . If possible” that people observe Flag Day.

In 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed an act passed by Congress naming Flag Day as June 14th.

Today saluting the flag or even being patriotic seems to some corny or even jingoistic. Some even say it’s racist. , But when America is challenged, we pull together. In the face of horror, Old Glory has always been a rallying point for all Americans. It has helped us deal with national tragedies, after 9/11 for example:

It unified the country after the Boston Marathon bombing, for one day, everyone, even New Yorkers, cheered the Red Sox:

Speaking as a New Yorker, we did go back to hating the Red Sox the next day…but that’s baseball.

Old Glory even helps America to celebrate some of her most significant achievements.

Do you believe in miracles?

“The flag is a visible symbol of the ideal aspirations of the American people. It is the one focus in which all unite in reverential devotion. We differ in religion; we differ in politics; we engage in disputes as to the true meaning of the Constitution, and even challenge the wisdom of some of its provisions; we inject self-interest and cupidity into most of the ordinary transactions of daily life, but through the sanctifying folds of the flag, the collective intelligence of the nation rises superior to the wisdom of its parts, and thus ensures the preservation of the Republic.”

– U.S. General Arthur MacArthur 1903

A Flag Day treat–James Cagney performs a “You’re A Grand Old Flag” medley from the Movie Yankee Doodle Dandy:

Read the rest of the article including “11 Things You Might Not Know About The Flag” on The Lid.