Flag Day: Happy Birthday to Our Stars and Stripes

Flag Day: Happy Birthday to Our Stars and Stripes

Our Stars and Stripes are a national emblem. To some, seeing Old Glory evokes overwhelming feelings of pride and patriotism. To others, it’s a symbol of hope, of freedom. The American flag is a living fabric that embodies the values, culture, and customs of the People.  

Field of American Flags

WHAT IS FLAG DAY?

Flag Day commemorates the birth of the American Flag. Celebratory events, such as parades, essay contests, and other ceremonies are often held. This year the National Flag Day Foundation is honoring members of the US Coast Guard. You can find the full program here.  

Close-up of American Flag

WHEN IS FLAG DAY?

Old Glory’s birthday is June 14th. The US officially adopted the Stars and Stripes as the country’s national symbol on June 14, 1777. In 1885 a school teacher named Bernard J. Cigrand asked students to reflect and write an essay on what the American Flag meant to them. He declared June 14th the flag’s birthday. And Bernard J. Cigrand is considered the Father of Flag Day. It wasn’t until 1949 that Congress officially designated Flag Day as a national holiday on June 14th each year. You can read more on Flag Day history here.

Passing of American Flag in cermony

FLAG ETIQUETTE

The American Flag has a long list of official rules defined by a law known as the  US Flag Code. It is part of the United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1. Reading through the rules is an educational journey. The flag is treated with the utmost respect, as a living and breathing fabric of our nation’s customs, triumphs, and its turmoil. It gives us a humbling glimpse into the past, pride in the present, and hope for the future.  

Cited are a few of the rules you may or may not know.

  • According to §6a, the flag should be displayed between sunrise and sunset. If the flag is displayed after sunset or for 24-hours, it needs to be illuminated with a light in periods of darkness.
  • §6c says that the flag should not be displayed in inclement weather unless displaying an all-weather flag.
  • When displaying a flag on your home’s front porch, the flag should always be to the observer’s left.
  • To display the flag at half-staff, it must first be hoisted to the top of the flagpole, then ceremoniously lowered to the half-staff position.
  • The flag should never be touching anything below it. That goes for merchandise, the ground, water, etc.
  • Old Glory should never be worn as clothing, bedding, upholstery, or anything else that deviates from its job as a flag. So, think again about repurposing your old flag into a tank top or pair of shorts.
  • According to §8K, if the flag is no longer a “fitting emblem of display” it “should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”

Happy Birthday, Old Glory!

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