US Code 36 Section 112 designates: “The 21 days from Flag Day through Independence Day is a period to honor America.” Who knew? I have never heard anything about “Honor America Days.” Have you?
I have to admit that I am still thinking about Flag Day. When I began researching Flag Day, I was shocked to learn that Flag Day is actually celebrated at the President’s discretion! So, I went to the White House website and took a look at the President’s schedule. There was no mention of Flag Day. Neither was there any mention of Flag Day on the schedule of the House of Representatives. The Senate was not in session on that day. A quick look at the “news” section on Google revealed no mention of Flag Day as well. So, the question became: What happened to Flag Day?
Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 because it was on that day in 1777 when the Continental Congress issued a the following resolve: “Resolved, That the flag of the ∥thirteen∥ United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
Is Flag Day a holiday?…well, sort of. It is not a federal holiday, nor is it is actually a public holiday. Flag Day stems from a proclamation by Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. The following is the text of the proclamation:
“My Fellow Countrymen:
Many circumstances have recently conspired to turn our thoughts to a critical examination of the conditions of our national life, of the influences which have seemed to threaten to divide us in interest and sympathy, of forces within and forces without that seemed likely to draw us away from the happy traditions of united purpose and action of which we have been so proud, It has therefore seemed to me fitting that I should call your attention to the approach of the anniversary of the day upon which the flag of the United States was adopted by the Congress as the emblem of the Union, and to suggest to you that it should this year and in the years to come be given special significance as a day of renewal and reminder, a day upon which we should direct our minds with a special desire of renewal to thoughts of the ideals and principles of which we have sought to make our great Government the embodiment.
I therefore suggest and request that throughout the nation and if possible in every community the fourteenth day of June be observed as FLAG DAY with special patriotic exercises, at which means shall be taken to give significant expression to our thoughtful love of America, our comprehension of the great mission of liberty and justice to which we have devoted ourselves as a people, our pride in the history and our enthusiasm for the political programme of the nation, our determination to make it greater and purer with each generation, and our resolution to demonstrate to all the world its, vital union in sentiment and purpose, accepting only those as true compatriots who feel as we do the compulsion of this supreme allegiance. Let us on that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, ‘one and inseparable’ from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts, for an America which no man can corrupt, no influence draw away from its ideals, no force divide against itself,-a nation signally distinguished among all the nations of mankind for its clear, individual conception alike of its duties and its privileges, its obligations and its rights.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and sixteen, and of the independence of the United States of America the one hundred and fortieth.”
In 1949, President Truman signed legislation passed by Congress that designated June 14 as National Flag Day. US Code 36 Section 110 now designates June 14 as Flag Day, and the President is requested to issue a proclamation each year. As with all of the patriotic and national observances connected with US Code 36, the proclamation is to call on buildings that belong to the Federal Government to display the flag. The statue also requests that the Presidential Proclamation urge the American people to observe the day as the anniversary of the Continental Congress’ resolve. The Proclamations, by in large, have become a brief introduction followed by rather canned language concerning the observance.
Yes, the President did issue a proclamation on June 7th regarding Flag Day, but I could find no indication that he in anyway publically acknowledged the day on June 14th. I believe that it is important for all of us to acknowledge opportunities to celebrate our country and its symbols. That is why I spent some time creating a Flag Day celebration of my own. You can view the video I created at:http://youtu.be/cKA0r-JyC_U Please let me know what you think and pass it along to your friends. I promise to pass along more ways to honor America in the future!
Please take a moment to think of the importance of honoring our amazing republic. Our ability to celebrate it and its symbols, and teach our children of their meaning and importance, is definitely What IS Right With America!
Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.