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Adoption of Flag Day

Flag Day in the United States has its origins in the efforts of individuals like Bernard J. Cigrand, a passionate teacher who sought to promote patriotism and honor the American flag. In 1885, Cigrand placed a small flag on his desk in Wisconsin to commemorate the flag's adoption by the Continental Congress in 1777. Inspired by this simple gesture, he embarked on a mission to encourage recognition and respect for the flag's significance.

Cigrand's advocacy efforts expanded over the years as he wrote articles, delivered speeches, and emphasized the importance of commemorating the flag's history and the principles it represented. His dedication caught the attention of President Woodrow Wilson, who issued a proclamation on May 30, 1916, officially establishing Flag Day as a nationwide observance. The proclamation encouraged Americans to display the flag on government buildings and encouraged public gatherings to honor the flag.

In addition to Bernard J. Cigrand, other educators also played a significant role in promoting the concept of Flag Day. George Balch and James B. Upham, both teachers, were involved in advocating for the holiday as well. Balch's efforts in New York City and Upham's writings further contributed to the growing recognition of the flag's symbolic importance. The collective dedication of these educators and advocates culminated in Flag Day's official recognition and celebration on June 14th each year.

President Wilson's proclamation played a vital role in setting the stage for the formal establishment of Flag Day. However, it wasn't until 1949 that Flag Day was codified into law. On August 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day. This act solidified the observance of Flag Day and highlighted the importance of recognizing the American flag as a symbol of unity and freedom.


Additional Resources:


Adoption of Flag Day



  1. "Our Flag" by Carl Memling (A children's book explaining the history and meaning of the U.S. flag.)

  2. "Our Flag Was Still There: The True Story of Mary Pickersgill and the Star-Spangled Banner" by Jessie Hartland 

  3. " To Stand and Fight: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City" by Martha Biondi (Discusses the significance of Flag Day in relation to civil rights protests.)

  4. "A People's History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence" by Ray Raphael (Discusses the role of symbols like the flag in the American Revolution and its aftermath.)

  5. "The American Flag, 1777-1924: Cultural Shifts from Creation to Codification" by Peter J. Wood (Examines the changing significance of the American flag throughout history.)

  6. "The American Flag: Two Centuries of Concord and Conflict" by Joanne Mattern (Explores the history and symbolism of the American flag.)

  7. "Our Flag" by Tamra B. Orr (Part of the "American Symbols and Their Meanings" series for young readers.)

  8. "The American Flag: An Encyclopedia of the Stars and Stripes in U.S. History, Culture, and Law" edited by John R. Vile (Offers a comprehensive reference on the American flag.)

  9. "Flag: An American Biography" by Marc Leepson (Explores the history and symbolism of the American flag.)

  10. "United We Stand: A Visual Journey of Wartime Patriotism" by Bruce Ragsdale (Explores the visual history of patriotic symbols, including the flag, during times of war.)

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