The 4th of July is typically recognized as America’s birthday, but the idea of a day specifically celebrating the birth of our flag is most commonly considered to have first arisen in 1885. It was in Waubeka, Wisconsin where a schoolteacher named Bernard J. Cigrand first held a celebration of America’s flag at his school. He later became a prominent advocate of a national day celebrating America’s flag, writing and giving speeches across the country in support of the idea. Cigrand’s dream became a reality in on May 30, 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson released a proclamation that formally recognized June 14 as Flag Day.
The June 14th date was chosen because it was on this day in 1777 that the Continental Congress approved the first American Flag.
Flag Day is not recognized as a formal government holiday, however, the President may (and usually does) formally announce the observance. Traditionally, the President issues a statement urging Americans to join him in celebrating the American flag by displaying it both outside and inside their homes and businesses. Government organizations also typically do so.
Although it does not hold the weight in the minds of Americans that other holidays, such as Independence Day, might hold, it does receive attention by towns and cities across the nation.
What is considered the largest Flag Day parade is organized in Troy, New York. It began in 1967 when a postal employee noticed a flag being burned in the middle of a street in Troy and became upset. He and a number of his friends, in protest, walked down the streets of Troy, proudly waving the American Flag. The next year, several organizations joined the original group and the parade has grown every year since. Today it typically attracts 50,000 attendees
This year in Knox County, the Exchange Club will host a Flag Day celebration on the Public Square in Mount Vernon at 1 PM. This event is free and will feature patriotic music and a speaker. Awards will be given to those who display the flag at their homes or business correctly and attendees may bring their old flags for retirement. This event is free and the public is invited to attend. Refreshments will be provided.
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