On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the American flag. The holiday was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and became a national day in 1949 by an Act of Congress. Today, it’s a day when Americans prominently display the flag for the entire week to show their patriotic pride.
The flag (as we know it today) was sewn by Mary Young Pickersgill, the daughter of Rebecca Young, who was also a flag maker. Pickersgill was commissioned to make the flag in 1813 for Fort McHenry, with the instruction that it be so large the British would be able to see it from a long distance. In 1814, Francis Scott Key would catch sight of the flag one fateful night while aboard a British ship, and would there be inspired to write the words to the United States National Anthem.
Did You Know?
As for the day itself, you can thank America’s teachers. The holiday most likely originated in 1885, when a schoolteacher named BJ Cigrand arranged for his Wisconsin students to observe June 14 as a “Flag Birthday.” Cigrand pushed for continued observances in newspaper articles and public speeches. Another teacher, George Balch, had his idea for Flag Day observances adopted by the New York State Board of Education. The holiday continued to gain traction until President Wilson’s proclamation in 1916.
Although Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, it’s still cause for celebration nationwide. The most famous and longest-running Flag Day parade in the country takes place in Fairfield, Washington, which has been running nearly every year since 1909.
Where to Celebrate Flag Day
So where are some great places to show your patriotic pride on Flag Day? For one, at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Visitors can rent a charter bus and visit the Star-Spangled Banner exhibit. There, they can see the preserved flag that inspired the national anthem, learn about its creation, and take a quiz to earn “stars” and see just how much they know about the American flag.
The Flag House & Star-Spangled Banner Museum in Baltimore, Maryland is another great place to learn about the history of Old Glory. Located in Jonestown, the Flag House was once the home of Mary Pickersgill and the place where she sewed the flag that would later fly over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Visitors will find a theater, galleries, artifacts, antiques and period furniture, as well as the period architecture of the restored house.
Flag Day Facts
- The red in the American flag stands for hardiness and valor, the blue for justice, perseverance and vigilance, and the white for innocence and purity.
- The American flag’s design has changed 27 times over history.
- There are six American flags on the surface of the moon.
- Flag Day is also the official “birthday” of the US Army.
- Contrary to what many believe, a flag does not have to be destroyed if it touches the ground. It can be washed if it becomes dirty.
Though it’s not a federal holiday, Flag Day is still a great opportunity to gather friends and family and take a charter bus trip to visit one of America’s patriotic monuments. Call us at 1-866-556-3545 or contact us today for a free quote.