Though the Flag Day was
first celebrated in 1877, with the centennial of the U.S. flag's existence,
the idea of making it a public celebration is believed to have
originated in 1885.
In course of time a number of individuals and organizations advocated the
adoption of a national day of commemoration for the U.S. Flag. However, B.J.
teacher from the Wisconsin Public School, District 6, is believed to be a
forerunner of the thought. He organized the pupils in the Fredonia, to observe June 14
as 'Flag Birthday'. It was the 108th anniversary
of the official adoption of
The Stars and Stripes,
the first national flag of the United States.
a bid to inspire and educate the school children
with spirit of the Flag as
well as love for the nation.
And it was not a single shot bid.
continued to advocate the need for its observance
in the following years
through numerous magazines
and newspaper articles and public addresses.
the celebration was yet to take off in a well defined style
and in a wider
On June 14, 1889, George Balch,
a kindergarten teacher in New York City,
planned appropriate 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 in Philadelphia
held 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.
Inspired by Colonel J Granville Leach, a historian,
the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America
adopted a resolution on April 25, 1893.
The resolution requested the mayor of
and all others in authority and all private citizens
to display the Flag on June 14th.
Leach went on to recommend
thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day'.
It was also recommended that
on that day,
school children be assembled for appropriate exercises,
each child being given a small Flag.
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 in Independence Square. School children were assembled,
each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung
and addresses delivered.
In 1894, the governor of New York directed
that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings.
Meanwhile, with BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the driving force,
the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association,
came into being.
Its purpose was to promote the holding of Flag Day exercises.
And thanks to its initiative, on June 14th, 1894,
the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day
in Chicago was held.
More than 300,000 children participated
in the programs held various
parks across Chicago.
Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs
in different parts of the
And the celebration registered increasing popularity
as more and
more localities and states over the next three decades.
The Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson
established it officially on May 30th, 1916.
While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years
following Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949,
of June was designated by President Harry Truman
as National Flag Day to be
celebrated each year across the nation.