Everything About Flag Day 2024

While some may think that the creation of the American flag is celebrated on the fourth of July as part of Independence Day, its birthday is actually almost a month earlier. This celebration is known as Flag Day, a nationwide flag-flying holiday.

What is Flag Day?

Flag Day commemorates the official adoption of the American flag by the Second Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War. National flags are considered an important symbol of a nation’s sovereignty and identity, and creating the US flag was an essential step in forming a state separate from the British Empire. Flag Day celebrates both the founding of an American identity and nationality, as well as the fight for independence.

When is Flag Day in the United States?

Flag Day occurs each year on June 14, the anniversary of the flag’s adoption in 1777.

Why is Flag Day on June 14?

On this day, the Second Continental Congress adopted the flag of the United States. During this session, the first Flag Act was passed, the definition of which read “that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Since no specific example was initially given for the flag’s layout, colors, or proportions, many different versions of the American flag were used. One of the most famous in modern times is the Betsy Ross flag. The first steps towards standardization would not come until 1912.

How is Flag Day Celebrated?

The Flag Code has designated that the American flag be displayed on Flag Day. This part of the United States Code includes the Pledge of Allegiance and describes the appropriate ways to display the flag.

Some critical elements of the Flag Code include:

  • The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff
  • The flag should not be draped over cars or other vehicles
  • The flag, when carried in a procession with other flags, should be on the marching right
  • No other flag or pennant should be displayed above the flag of the United States of America
  • The flag should be displayed in a way that is respectful and never touch anything that is beneath it, such as the ground, water, or merchandise
  • The flag should be displayed in a place of prominence

To participate in this centuries-old tradition, quickly raise your flag at sunrise and ceremoniously lower it at sunset.

Who Started Flag Day?

The idea for having a special day to recognize the flag itself as separate from Independence Day festivities dates back to 1861 when Connecticut resident George Morris encouraged the city of Hartford to celebrate the flag’s birthday. However, another large-scale celebration would not occur until 1885. A school teacher in Wisconsin named Bernard J. Cigrand arranged for his students at the Stony Hill School to celebrate June 14th as the ‘Flag Birthday.’

Where Did Flag Day Start?

Cigrand moved to Chicago a year after his first Flag Day celebration and started promoting it in local newspapers. The practice began to spread to other states, including celebrations in 1888 in Pennsylvania. A year later, a New York City kindergarten teacher named George Balch planned a day of ceremonies and celebration on June 14, 1889, to honor the American flag. Two years later, the State Board of Education adopted the idea of an annual Flag Day celebration for all students in New York.

The idea continued to spread. Throughout the late 1890s, communities all over the country held Flag Day celebrations, often held at schools. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (Elks) designated June 14th as Flag Day in 1907. In 1911, the Elks made observing Flag Day a requirement for all their lodges.

The Elks also played a significant role in convincing President Woodrow Wilson to declare June 14, 1916, as Flag Day. On August 2, 1949, President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress designating every June 14th as Flag Day.

Is Flag Day a Federal Holiday?

Flag Day is not an official federal holiday like Independence Day or Thanksgiving. Mail still gets delivered, and banks are open as usual. However, it is still a special day set aside to remember our most important national symbol.

Flag Day is a time to honor not only the flag of the United States of America but also all that it symbolizes, including honor, sacrifice, duty, independence, and liberty.

We’re proud to offer a wide variety of American-made flags to help you celebrate this Flag Day or to prepare for the even bigger festivities on July 4th. If you’re curious about what early American flags would have looked like during the first Flag Day events, check out our historical flag collection.

Jun 14, 2024 Staff

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