Flag Day is always June 14th. It is a day for all Americans to celebrate and show respect for our flag, its designers and makers. Flag Day is a great time to learn about flag day and to teach our children about the history and meaning of the American flag.
History of Flag Day
The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as ‘Flag Birthday’. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’, or ‘Flag Day’.
Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day – the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 – was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
Care and Keeping of the American Flag
Today the flag consists of 13 horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies and the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well, red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Properly Display Our Flag
Care and handling of the American flag is steeped in tradition and respect. There is a right way and a wrong way to display the flag. This is called Flag Etiquette. The American flag should be held in the highest of regards. It represents our nation and the many people who gave their lives for our country and our flag. Here are the basics on displaying the American flag:
- The flag is normally flown from sunrise to sunset.
- In the morning, raise the flag briskly. At sunset, lower it slowly. Always, raise and lower it ceremoniously.
- The flag should not be flown at night without a light on it.
- The flag should not be flown in the rain or inclement weather.
- After a tragedy or death, the flag is flown at half staff for 30 days. It’s called “half staff” on land ,and “half mast” on a ship.
- When flown vertically on a pole, the stars and blue field , or “union”, is at the top and at the end of the pole (away from your house).
- The American flag is always flown at the top of the pole. Your state flag and other flags fly below it.
- The union is always on top. When displayed in print, the stars and blue field are always on the left.
- Never let your flag touch the ground, never…period.
- Fold your flag when storing. Don’t just stuff it in a drawer or box.
- When your flag is old and has seen better days, it is time to retire it. Old flags should be burned or buried. Please do not throw it in the trash.
How to Fold The American Flag
There is a special way to fold the American flag. Here is an activity in folding the American flag: Fold the American Flag. It offers instructions and paper printables to allow you to practice folding the flag. If you are like me, you need to see how to fold the flag. Here is a video to help!
Flag Day Activities
1. Poster Board Flag to Display
One of the many things we have done to celebrate Flag Day is to make a flag of our own. This is simple and easy to do. We chose to create a poster board sized flag to hang in our homeschool room.
To make it easier for my little ones I drew in the stripes of the flag and helped them by holding the star stencil in place. Then they finished by coloring each thing in appropriately. (You can see our finished flag in the image above.)
2. 12 Flag Crafts for Kids – Here are 12 different fun and easy crafts for kids to create to celebrate flag day.
3. Flag Day Printables – from coloring sheets to word searches, reading comprehension and more.