An annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed
to have started with the vision of several school teachers. In 1885,
BJ Cigrand, arranged for his students in the Fredonia, Wisconsin
Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary
of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'.
During the next several years he publicized his idea through magazine
and newspaper articles and public speeches. Another school teacher
spread the idea to New York. On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten
teacher in New York City, planned ceremonies honoring the American
flag for the children of his school. His ideas for observing Flag
Day were later adopted by the State Board of Education in New York.
From that time Flag Day caught on rapidly. The Betsy Ross House,
the Sons of the Revolution, and the Colonial Dames all added their
voice to a call for honoring the American flag with its own special
day. In 1894 American Flag Day Association was formed and the governor
of New York directed the flag to be displayed on all public buildings.
Thousands of school children in New York and the Midwest participated
in flag ceremonies in public settings every year. Finally in 1916,
Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day by Proclamation. However, it
wasn’t until August of 1949 that President Truman signed an
Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag
The following websites and resources were reviewed for use
in elementary classrooms to celebrate Flag Day.
Margaret Hill, Director
SCORE History-Social Science.