National Flag Day Celebration & Flag Retirement June 14th

 


National Flag Day will be celebrated on June 14th as a day to honor the American flag. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress proposed that the United States have a national flag instead of the British Union Jack. The resolution read: Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. Then on June 14, 1877, the flag was flown from every government building in honor of the centennial of the adoption of a national flag. The first official Flag Day was observed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1893 with New York proclaiming June 14th as Flag Day 1897. 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 in 1916. Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation until August 3rd, 1949 when President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day. The colors of the flag gained specific meaning when the Great Seal was developed in 1782. Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, reporting to Congress on the Seal, stated: “The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.”


Americans take the treatment of their flag seriously and Title 4 of the US Code provides guidelines for proper flag etiquette. The proper display and use of the American flag is a responsibility of every American citizen. A few common customs to observe with the flag are:


1. Display the flag from sunrise to sunset unless a patriotic effect is desired it may be displayed 24 hours a day with proper illumination at night.

2. The President or Governor may authorize the flag to be flown at half-staff upon the death of key individuals as a sign of respect.

3. The flag should never touch the ground, floor or water beneath it.

4. The flag should never have placed or attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, drawing, picture, design, or figure of any nature.

5. When the flag passes by in a parade or ceremony individuals should stand at attention facing the flag. Men should remove their hats. The right hand should be placed over your heart.

The question of what to do with a worn out flag often arises and Section 8(k) of the Flag Code states “The flag, when it is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” Worn out flags can be given to the local American Legion Post #24 or VFW Post #4603 at any time for proper disposal. There will be a flag retirement ceremony at 10:00 AM, June 14th, at the Whitehall cemetery. Other questions on proper flag etiquette can also be addressed to these organizations.


Let us remember on June 14th, National Flag Day, how our flag was developed, the sacrifices that were made, its representation of freedom and the significance it has to this great nation.

 

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