Today we celebrate the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. An official act of the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, made it so. On this same day in 1775, the Continental Congress also formally adopted “the rag-tag band of men and boys who had started shooting at the King’s troops in Massachusetts,” according to washingtontimes.com.
In that spirit, a happy birthday to Old Glory and the U.S. Army is in order.
Flag Day as we now know it, was inspired by the action of a schoolteacher, Bernard J. Cigrand, from Stony Hill, Wis., in 1885. He encouraged his students to observe June 14, the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes, as “Flag Birthday”. According to usflag.org: “In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’, or ‘Flag Day’.”
It took another three decades of state and local celebrations before Flag Day got its official nod through a Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. Another 33 years later, on Aug. 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day.
If you want to know more interesting facts about the flag, such as that there are half a dozen U.S. flags on the moon, go here: http://www.chicagonow.com/tween-us/2013/06/13-facts-for-flag-day/.
Here is bit of history from nationalflagday.com on the man who fought to get a day for the Stars and Stripes:
“Bernard J. Cigrand (from the French ‘CiGrand’ meaning ‘so great’) was born on Yankee Hill in Waubeka, Wisconsin on October 1, 1866. He was the youngest of six children of Nicholas and Susan Cigrand who had settled and married here a decade earlier after immigrating to this country from Luxembourg in Northwestern Europe. A look at CiGrand’s Family give us insight into the background that prepared the son for a lifetime of achievement.
“As a youth, young Cigrand sold scrap iron and rags to buy books. At 12 he worked as a sales agent for the U S Book and Bible Club earning 25 cents for each book he sold. He was a conductor on a steam barge on the Milwaukee River in the Waubeka area. Inspired by his father, young Cigrand displayed an early interest in American history. He was a devout patriot with a great love of the flag of our nation.
“Cigrand earned $40.00/month teaching school at Stony Hill and with income from selling books was able to pay his way through dental school. In 1888, he graduated first in his class from Lake Forest College of Dentistry.”