June 14 is Flag Day

By Mrs. Kay Pruitt

DAR Museum Chairman for Dorcheat-Bistineau Chapter NSDAR

The observance of Flag Day is traditionally proclaimed each year by the President of the United States. Although it is not a federal holiday, presidents have issued proclamations that June 14 be observed as National Flag Day.  In 1916 President Wilson issued the first proclamation; however, it wasn’t until August 3, 1949 that Congress approved the national observance, and President Truman signed it into law.

The reason June 14 is designated National Flag Day is due to a resolution adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.  The young country needed a flag as a solidifying symbol of the nation, but also for U.S. ships to fly especially when entering foreign ports. There had been several versions of the flag up to this point, but Congress clarified the colors and arrangement of the stars and stripes saying: “That the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.”

The first recorded celebration of the flag’s birthday was held in 1877 on the 100th anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777. Prior to 1877 the day was observed with patriotic programs by some schools in Connecticut and New York.  In addition, Elizabeth Gillespie, a member of the Colonial Dames and a direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin, succeeded in getting a resolution passed to have the flag displayed on all of Philadelphia’s public buildings.  In 1937 Pennsylvania became the first and only state to establish June 14 as a legal holiday.