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Happy Birthday to the Stars and Stripes

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Happy Birthday to our flying symbol of freedom! Flag Day or Flag Birthday was said to have originated in 1885 by a school teacher and his class observing June 14th as the anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes. In 1889 another school teacher in New York City planned a celebration for his students and that led to the adoption, by the State Board of Education of New York, to observe June 14th as Flag Day. The idea seemed to catch on and in 1891 the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a celebration and then the following year the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution celebrated Flag Day as well.

This movement continued on with various schools having their students gather for flag related exercises and to receive their very own small flag. Private citizens were encouraged to display their flags on June 14th and Flag Day began to spread throughout Pennsylvania and New York. In 1894 the governor of New York directed that all public buildings display a flag on June 14th.

In Illinois the American Flag Day Association was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. In 1894 the first general public-school children’s celebration of Flag Day was held in Chicago in several parks with over 300,000 children participating.

On May 30th, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson officially established Flag Day. It wasn’t until, August 3rd 1949 when President Harry Truman signed the Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

It is incredible how a small celebration of some students and their teacher learning about the flag and its history could create a nationwide movement that eventually became a national day of observance. When I think about it for a moment, I am happy to see an example of the future of their world (the children of that time) were able to be a part of this movement. However, I am not sure if we even come close to similar exercises and celebrations like they did in the past. I am hopeful our future (the children of today) will show the same drive and intrigue to shape our future world.

Plant a tree this flag day and watch it and our future grow and change together.

Happy Flag Day! 

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