Celebrate Twice This Week

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This is a very special week. We get TWO celebrations within a seven day period. How great is that? That’s right, this week it’s Flag Day and Father’s Day. That’s two great American institutions to honor. So hoist your flag up the flagpole on June 14, and then on Sunday take good old dad out for a steak dinner at his favorite restaurant and hoist a few of dad’s favorite libations. If dad isn’t a drinker, then hoist dad up the flagpole and see who salutes. I don’t know what the heck that means, so let’s just go on to the next paragraph.

Why do we have Flag Day, you might ask. Well, if you listen closely (bring the paper real close to your face) I’ll tell you. It has nothing to do with the Fourth of July for one thing. That’s NEXT month and a different story altogether. The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated asAmerica’s birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885 … thanks to a schoolteacher.

It all started with schoolteacher BJ Cigrand, who arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia,WisconsinPublic School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as “Flag Birthday.” 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.” See why we need school teachers? And in those days they didn’t belong to unions that went on strike for free healthcare and taxpayer paid retirement benefits either.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, another teacher (this time of the kindergarten persuasion) inNew York City, planned appropriate flag ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House inPhiladelphiaheld a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution celebrated Flag Day.

Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (not a school teacher this time, but a historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America (once known as the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Broads but later changed due to political correctness) on April 25, 1893, adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14.

Colonel Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as “Flag Day,” and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag. Cute, eh? Two weeks later on May 8, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893, inIndependence Square.  School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

In 1894, the governor ofNew Yorkdirected that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. In that same year theIllinoisorganization known as the American Flag Day Association was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises (all gym shorts were red, white, and blue). And on June 14, 1894, the first general public school children’s celebration of Flag Day inChicagowas held in Douglas,Garfield, Humboldt,Lincoln, andWashingtonParks, with more than 300,000 children participating. TA-DAH!

Inspired by all these state and local celebrations, Flag Day — the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 — was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. See that? And you thoughtWilsonwas nothing but a left-wing socialistic statist. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years afterWilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day. So there you go.

And why do we have Father’s Day? Well, teachers had nothing to do with it. Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts.  Enough said.

Happy Flag and Father’s Days to us all!

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