The very first recognition of the Flag Day celebration started in 1777, less than one year after Betsy Ross received the order from General Washington to make the first flag. The Second Continental Congress stated, “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.” The first national observance of the holiday was 100 years later.
Flag Day was officially established in 1916 by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson, but it wasn’t until 1949 that President Truman signed an Act of Congress stating that June 14 of each year would be the designated “National Flag Day.” The holiday was inspired by the accumulation of several people doing their own local celebrations.
BJ Cigrand, a school teacher in Wisconsin, was the first person to celebrate Flag Day in 1885. It was originally known as “Flag Birthday.” In 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City put together a ceremony for his students to celebrate the American flag, and his idea was soon adopted by the State Board of Education of New York.
The week of June 14 is also National Flag week. People celebrate by flying flags outside their homes or businesses. They also join in or go to watch parades that are held in a city near them. Though Flag Day is not a federal holiday in any state except for New York and Pennsylvania, it is a nationwide observance, and businesses are still open.