History Series: Flag Day

History of Flag Day

Bill Petro
4 min readJun 13, 2024
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

June 14 is Flag Day in the United States. While it may not be as widely celebrated as other American holidays, it is one of the oldest.

It was resolved by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, even before the conclusion of the American War of Independence, the Revolutionary War.

Grassroots

In 1885, BJ Cigrand, a Wisconsin schoolteacher, initiated a “Flag Birthday” for his students on June 14. His continual promotion of this “Flag Day” inspired New York kindergarten teacher George Balch in 1889 to have similar observances for his students.

The State Board of Education for New York followed suit. The Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia had a Flag Day in 1891, and the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution the following year. Other state organizations in New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois followed suit.

National Flag Day

A hundred years ago, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson made June 14 the official Flag Day by proclamation, and Congress established it in 1949. The “Stars and Stripes” flag represented the symbol of America and was initially sown by Quaker upholsterer Betsy Ross in Philadelphia, according to the Ross Family tradition.

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Bill Petro

Writer, historian, technologist. Former Silicon Valley tech exec. Author of fascinating articles on history, tech, pop culture, & travel. https://billpetro.com