Flag Day is observed on June 14 each year, although it isn't an official federal holiday.
Congress authorized a red-white-and-blue flag with stars and stripes, the official national symbol of the United States of America, on June 14, 1777.
In 1885, B.J. Cigrand, a grade school teacher in Waubeka, Wisc., held the first recognized formal observance of Flag Day at the Stony Hill School.
Throughout the next three decades, other individuals and organizations promoted the establishment of Flag Day.
On May 30, 1916, Pres. Woodrow Wilson established by a proclamation the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777.
Although Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it wasn’t until August 3, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.
The act calls on the President to issue an annual proclamation calling for a national observance and for the display of the U.S flag on all federal government buildings.
In a second joint resolution approved June 9, 1966, Congress requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating the week during which June 14 falls as National Flag Week and to call on all citizens of the U.S. to display the flag during that week.
The longest-running Flag Day parade is held annually in Quincy, Mass., which began in 1952 and is celebrating its 57th year in 2009.
The largest Flag Day parade is held annually in Troy, N.Y., which usually draws about 50,000 spectators.
The National Flag Day Foundation has been established to carry on the tradition of the first Flag Day observance. The foundation pays special recognition to Bernard J. Cigrand, and is located Waubeka, Wis.
Each year, the foundation offers a Flag Day celebration, which includes a program, parade, and family activities.
You can get a free U.S. flag today or tomorrow in honor of Flag Day from AmericanFlags.com. The flags are 2 feet by 3 feet, with metal grommets and usually cost $9.99, plus shipping and handling.
Until Monday, June 15, up to one million customers will get flags for free, but they’ll need to pay for shipping and handling.
Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist