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Happy Flag Day, 2017!

June 14, 2017

 

Happy Flag Day, 2017!

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

In the United States, Americans celebrated the first Flag Day on June 14, 1877–one hundred and forty years ago today.  June 14 was designated as Flag Day because on this day in 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution for the design and colors of the first flag of the United States.  In the late 19th century, teachers used Flag Day to teach their students more about history.  Wisconsinite Bernard J. Cigrand, a teacher (later a dentist, writer, public speaker who delivered 2188 speeches about patriotism and the flag), went a step further:  for approximately sixty years, he lobbied Congress to make Flag Day an official observance.  The patriotic dream of Mr. Cigrand, who became known as the “Father of Flag Day,” did not materialize until  1916, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that June 14 shall be National Flag Day.  Finally, in 1949, Congress made National Flag Day an official observance.

 

Since 1911, Flag Day has been celebrated annually at the Betsy Ross House, the birthplace of the American flag.  Over a quarter of a million people visit this historic home each year.  In Philadelphia, only the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall welcome more visitors.  Actually, Betsy Ross and her husband John never owned this three-and-a half story home (with an attic):  they rented the six-room house from 1773 through 1786.  Besides living in the Georgian-style house (built circa 1740), the Rosses had their upholstery business in the house. At the following website, you can take a virtual tour of the Betsy Ross Home.

 

http://www.betsyrosshouse.org

 

Around 1980, my parents and I walked to the Betsy Ross House from our hotel in Philadelphia and took a tour of the historic home most associated with the seamstress of the first flag of the United States.  The row houses that soared upward, with minimal space on each floor, intrigued me.

 

Many of my school days in the 1950s began with our teacher leading all students in the classroom with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Throughout my grade school and high school years, every classroom I entered included a flag of the United States of America.

 

At the Blanford (Indiana) Post Office, where my mother was postmaster for twenty-eight-and-a-half years, a flagpole stood at the northwest corner of the lot.  Many times, after the end of a school day, my friend Michael and I were eager to have the opportunity to take down the flag, fold it as I had learned in Girl Scouts, and hand the flag to my mother, the postmaster.  Sometimes, when I did not go to the post office after school, Michael did the honor of taking down the flag.

 

Sometime in the 1980s, my parents, Retha (friend and postmaster of St. Bernice, Indiana), and I were among a sellout audience at North Vermillion High School to see singer and musician Lee Greenwood.  How patriotic and memorable when students from the North Vermillion High School Marching Band paraded through the auditorium with American flags while Lee Greenwood sang his most famous song “God Bless the USA”!

 

Although all four of my grandparents came to the United States from Northern Italy in the early 1900s, all four became and were proud to be US citizens.  My paternal grandfather’s favorite song was “God Bless America,” sung by Kate Smith.

 

For over a decade, I have displayed in my large front window of my townhouse, three American flags–one for each of my relatives who are in the military (Army, Navy, and Air Force).  Additionally, on the opposite side of my house, I display an American flag in my kitchen window.  Last evening, my aunt told me that at her home in Minnesota, she has four flags–one for each of her brothers (my dad and three uncles) who served in Europe during World War II.

 

The USA flag which I most fondly remember is the one on the flagpole in the northeast corner of our yard at our Blanford home.  When I was eleven or twelve years old, my dad and I went to Harris Food Store in Clinton, Indiana, and purchased a two-foot tall Colorado Blue Spruce and two evergreen trees.  We planted the evergreens on the north side of that corner of our yard; then, we planted the Colorado Blue Spruce on the east side–just south of the sweet peas that climbed the fence with their rose-colored blooms.  The Blue Spruce grew into a spectacular tree and made a beautiful setting for our flagpole with its USA flag.  So clearly, I can picture in my mind a photograph of that flag against a Hoosier blue sky and flanked by the Colorado Blue Spruce which eventually grew even taller than the flagpole.

 

The US flag that tugs at my heart each time that I touch it is the tri-folded flag that was draped over my dad’s coffin in December of 1997.  I cherish this flag.

 

I have a collection of flag pins which I wear on the lapels of blazers and jackets.  Keeping with tradition, I will be wearing red, white, and blue along with one of these pins today–Flag Day, 2017.

 

Happy Flag Day!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

POST-SCRIPT:  This weekend, I will post an extra piece for Father’s Day.

Flag Day is also the fourth birthday of my great-niece Lanie, the birthday of cousin Kenny in California, birthday of cousin Andrea in Missouri, and wedding anniversary of cousins Annie and Paco in Mexico.  Happy celebrations to all!

 

June 14, 2017, Wednesday

 

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9 Comments
  1. Alice, after 9 11, the colors of the flag surrounded me every minute of every day. On my work vehicle, on the porch, pins on my chest, flag hat on my head, nothing impacted me more than the indigo blue that stood tall behind the stars. Thanks for a wonderfully patriotic look back. We can never hear enough of the history of this great country, and I thank you for bringing such a vivid slice of it to me today. dp

    Sent from my flag waving Windows 10 machine

    • Deon–Thanks for sharing a note about your patriotism today.

      Best wishes for your Flag Day–Alice and Willow

  2. Alic, this is interesting. I’ll ⠗⠑⠤⠃⠇⠕⠛ it later.

  3. Reblogged this on Abbie's Corner of the World and commented:
    Here’s some history and a memoir about Flag Day. Enjoy!

  4. Alice, I am glad I read this today. It is an excellent reminder of what the flag means to our nation and to us individually. Even though this is the day after Flag Day that I read it, I still wish you a Happy Flag Day today! Lynda

  5. I guess I wasn’t careful enough because I learned something from your post. It sure was interesting, even though I’m Canadian

    • Bruce–Thanks for taking the time to read this post about the US holiday of Flag Day. Having a comment from a Canadian reader is a pleasant surprise.

      Have a good weekend–Alice

  6. mfanyo permalink

    Thanks for the interesting information about our beautiful American Flag, Alice. One of my favorite lessons to teach my prekindergarten students is the patriotic theme of our presidents and the flag during the month of February. The children are so cute as they march around the classroom waving small flags and singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag!” Nurturing the love of our country must begin in the early years!
    God Bless America and the Red, White, and Blue!
    Mary

    • Mary–Thanks for your cute, patriotic comment about your little students. I recall your taking a photograph

      Of the flag on your house in a snowscape and then your using the patriotic photograph for your Christmas card. Thanks for reading my blog and commenting–Alice and Willow

      6/20/2017 10:13 PM, alice13wordwalk wrote: > WordPress.com >

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