View Full Version : The History Of Flag Day

06-13-03, 01:12 PM
The History Of Flag Day


The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary if the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.



06-13-03, 01:13 PM
The Pledge of Allegiance

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Francis Bellamy, the author of these words, was an ordained minister, magazine writer, and Freemason who stated that his aim was to say "what our republic meant and what was the underlying spirit of its life." Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 as part of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus. It was embraced by the nation and almost immediately became a part of the school-day ritual. Bellamy's original text has been altered twice. In 1923, the words "the flag of the United States of America" were substituted for the words "my flag". Congress officially recognized the Pledge in 1942 and added the words "under God" in 1954.



06-13-03, 01:14 PM
Here are some tips to make sure your tribute is a respectful one:

Display the flag only between sunrise and sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs. The flag may be displayed for twenty-four hours if illuminated in darkness.

Do not display the flag in inclement weather.

Whether displaying the flag vertically or horizontally, make sure the canton of stars is visible on the upper left-hand side.

Do not let the flag touch the ground.

An unusable flag that is damaged and worn and can no longer be displayed should be destroyed in a dignified way by burning.

When not on display, the flag should be respectfully folded into a triangle, symbolizing the tricorn hats worn by colonial soldiers in the Revolutionary War.



06-14-03, 09:31 AM
Liberty and justice for all

By Gary Galles

Today, June 14, is Flag Day, celebrating when, in 1777, the Second Continental Congress authorized a new flag to symbolize America. It has typically received little notice, beyond being one of the few times many said our Pledge of Allegiance. But the furor over the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that "under God" made requiring students to say the Pledge unconstitutional has now raised its profile.
Flag Day discussion will focus on that contentious case. Many, especially politicians, will endorse the Pledge "as is," lest their patriotism or morality be questioned. Others will echo the claim it is an unconstitutional government establishment of religion. But another phrase "with liberty and justice for all" which predates "under God," is far more important.
"Under God" refers to the source of the inalienable rights asserted in our Declaration of Independence. But "liberty and justice for all" reminds us that "justice" today is a far cry from the conception underlying our Founding.
How can there possibly be liberty and justice for all, when, in the name of justice, people claim rights to income, food, housing, education, health care, transportation, ad infinitum? We can't. Positive rights to receive such things, absent an obligation to earn them, must violate others' liberty, by taking some of their income without their consent. They are really just wishes, convertible into benefits for some only by employing the government to violate others' rights not to have what is theirs taken.
Only by recognizing that justice involves the defense of negative rights prohibitions laid out against others, especially the government, to prevent unwanted intrusions not rights to be given things, can liberty for all be reconciled with justice for all. And negative rights are precisely what our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, were meant to protect. But those foundational freedoms are being eroded by the ongoing search to "discover" ever more positive rights.
Echoing John Locke, the Declaration of Independence asserts that all have inalienable rights, including liberty, and that our government's purpose is to defend those negative rights. Each citizen can enjoy them without infringing on anyone else's rights, because they impose on others only the obligation not to interfere. But when the government creates new positive rights, extracting the resources to pay for them necessarily takes away others' inalienable rights (which we recognize as theft except when the government does it). Such rights are inconsistent with the vision which formed America.
Almost all of Americans' rights laid out in the Constitution are protections against government abuse. The Preamble makes that clear, as does Article 1, Section 8's enumeration of the limited powers granted to the federal government. That is reinforced by explicit description of some powers not given. Even more clearly, the Bill of Rights, which Justice Hugo Black described as the "Thou Shalt Nots," consists almost exclusively of negative rights. Even its central positive right to a jury trial is largely to defend innocent citizens' negative rights against being railroaded by the government. And the 9th and 10th Amendments leave no doubt that all rights not expressly delegated to the federal government are retained by the people.
Liberty means I rule myself, protected by my negative rights, and voluntary agreements are the means of resolving conflict. In contrast, assigning positive rights to others means someone else must rule over the choices and resources taken from me. But since no one has the right to rob me, they cannot delegate such a right to the government to force me to provide the resources it wishes to hand out to others, regardless of who is to get them. For our government to remain within its delegated authority and the consent of the governed, it can only enforce negative rights.
Our country was founded on inalienable rights, not rights granted by Washington, so the government cannot take them away. But as people have discovered ever more things they want others to pay for, and learned how to manipulate the language of rights to get public support, our government has increasingly turned to violating the rights it was instituted to defend. As we celebrate Flag Day, this, not whether "under God" is in the Pledge of Allegiance, is main threat to our Founders' vision.

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.