Not only is June 14 the day that the Continental Congress voted to adopt a new #flag for the newly formed United States in1777, History says, it was also the day that enlistment in the Continental Army was authorized two years earlier, making it the birthday of the U.S. Army. If you would like to support the nation’s #veterans this Flag Day, simply gather up some of your unused stuff and visit ClothingDonations.org to schedule a free #donation #pickup.
Historic U.S. flags such as the pre-1959 48-star flag can be displayed on Flag Day and other national holidays as long as they are in good condition. If you are in possession of a frayed or tattered flag, however, destroy it in the manner called “preferable” by the U.S. Flag Code: burning. Local chapters of the Vietnam Veterans of America may be able to assist with flag disposal; many collect damaged flags year-round and burn them en masse at an annual observance.
There are a number of don’ts when it comes to displaying the U.S. flag, according to the official U.S. Flag Code. For example, the flag — in whole or in part — is not to be used as a costume, athletic uniform or apparel, meaning that the flag-festooned bathing suits, ballcaps and towels you’ll see at the beach this summer are considered more disrespectful than patriotic. What’s more, the code stipulates that temporary or disposable items should not be adorned with the flag, including paper napkins and boxes.
Flag Day is Monday, June 14, and if you’re going to display the colors, Better Homes & Gardens says, try to do so correctly. “Display the flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and outdoor, stationary flagstaffs,” the story advises. Nighttime displays are permitted if the flag is illuminated, but displaying the flag in inclement weather is discouraged unless it is an all-weather flag. The union (blue field) should be at the peak of the staff or pole, and the flag should never touch the ground or any object below.
Flag Day is one of the more under-the-radar (some might say forgotten) holidays of the year. Nobody gets the day off; there’s no cookout; there may not even be a mattress sale. So why do we celebrate it — and how?
The idea of a day celebrating the flag was first suggested by Wisconsin schoolteacher B.J. Cigrand, says USFlag.org, who held the first “Flag Birthday” on June 14, 1885 — the 108th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars & Stripes as America’s official symbol. Appropriately enough, Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia picked up on the idea just a few years later in 1891.
The concept continued to spread among schools and patriotic organizations until 1894, when New York State made it official policy to fly the flag on June 14 and the Chicago-based American Flag Day Association staged events for more than 300,000 schoolchildren. Flag Day was a regular observance by 1916, when President Wilson established June 14 as the day to observe it. An Act of Congress made the day official in 1949 under President Truman.
While still not a federal holiday with a guaranteed paid day off, Flag Day invites homes and businesses to fly the flag (observing official guidelines for display). People can celebrate the symbol by pledging allegiance, singing the national anthem and/or saluting the red, white and blue. Veterans’ groups often add a performance of Taps to their Flag Day observances.
To get kids involved in the event, says Everyday Health, give them craft projects such as decorating patriotic flowerpots or making red, white and blue necklaces and baked goods. You can usually find a variety of craft supplies, kitchenwares and lightly used flags of all sizes on sale at the thrift and secondhand stores supplied by ClothingDonations.org.
As you celebrate Flag Day, remember what the Stars & Stripes stand for: The blue field and stars symbolize heaven and men’s goals, in addition to the current states in the union. Red is the color of valor, and white is the color of purity; the 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies. Stitched together, they symbolize the promise of America and the dreams of its many people — truly the fabric of our country.