The history behind Flag Day

Massachusetts

(WWLP) – Flag Day takes place each year on June 14, but not many know or understand why it is observed.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, America has been observing Flag Day for more than 100-years, but it hasn’t been an official national observance that long.

Sentry Uniforms in Chicopee sells at least 1,000 full-size flags each year.

“Sometimes they bring in their old flags so we can get the proper size and we see they’re worn out and tell them to bring them to a legion of VFW, so they can burn them on Flag Day,” said Eileen Pare.

While there are claims of celebrating the first Flag Day as early as 1861, the most recognized claim happened in 1889 in New York when a principal had his hold patriotic ceremonies for the anniversary of the Flag Day resolution.

The resolution, according to the department, was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, following by a special committee that had been assigned to suggest the flag’s design.

The resolution reads:

That the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.

While there are various accounts of officials, states, and institutions recognizing and celebrating the day, it was not officially recognized nationally until almost 100 years later.

Despite President Wilson and President Coolidge issuing proclamations asking for the day to be nationally observed in 1916 and 1927, it wasn’t approved by Congress in 1949 and signed into law by President Truman until 1949.

The following rules and regulations should be followed with the flag:

  • The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
  • The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
  • The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
  • The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
  • The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
  • The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
  • The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
  • No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
  • The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

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