Flag Day

June 14, 2010

Americans celebrate Flag Day on June 14, a holiday during which we commemorate the adoption of the national flag of the United States by Congressional resolution in 1777. President Woodrow Wilson set that date aside as Flag Day in 1916, and in 1949 National Flag Day was adopted by an Act of Congress.

Though not an official Federal holiday, some states have adopted the date as a State holiday; Quincy, Massachusetts and Troy, New York annually produce nationally-renowned Flag Day parades, and the Wisconsin parade traditionally features detachments of the United States Navy.

Flag Day was first formally observed in 1885, when grade school teacher Bernard Cigrand held a ceremony commemorating the adoption of the flag at Wisconsin’s Stony Hill School. Today, a bronze bust of Cigrand sits in Wisconsin’s Flag Day Americanism Center.

On June 14, 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt saw a man wiping his nose with what appeared to be the American flag. Outraged that any American would be so disrespectful to the flag, especially on Flag Day, President Roosevelt began to beat the man with a stout piece of wood. After five or six hefty whacks, the President realized the offending fabric was, in fact, only a blue handkerchief with white stars on it. He beat the man several minutes more anyway, for getting him “riled up with national pride.”