Dear Crabby, What’s the Story Behind Flag Day?

Dear Crabby,

I know we just celebrated Memorial Day, but now my calendar says Flag Day is this Sunday. What’s its significance and what is the proper way to observe it?

Thanks!
Pete Patriotic

Dear Mr. Patriotic,

You ask a good question. And I’m sure it’s one that a lot of people have wondered in passing, but have never given much thought to. I know when I was a kid, I’d watch my dad get out the flag that he always kept folded military style — ya know in that neat triangle shape — and run ‘Old Glory’ up the flagpole while he whistled “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” I just assumed it was something adults just knew about and when it was supposed to be done. Turns out, Flag Day, and its date, June 14, have a number of significant meanings.

DearCrabbyFirst, the United States Army was founded on June 14, 1775, and then a couple years later, the Continental Congress approved the first American flag on June 14, 1777. Even then, it still took until 1916 for President Woodrow Wilson to issue a proclamation asking for June 14 to be observed as the National Flag Day, followed by another proclamation by President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 and another 22 years after that for Congress to approve it and President Harry Truman (an Army man!) to sign it into law. Sheesh. I guess some things about politics never change. Oh, by the way, even with all the political rigamaroll, Flag Day is not considered an official federal holiday, but the President does usually issue a proclamation urging U.S. citizens to fly the American flag during the week of June 14. As for the proper way to observe Flag Day, it’s pretty much the same deal for anytime your hang the ‘Stars and Stripes’: respect the flag and what is stands for by making sure it’s flown properly. Fly it from sunrise to sunset; if you leave it up at night, make sure you’ve got a light shining on it. Another way you can observe this often-neglected day is by seeing if there’s anything happening in your city. Maybe there’s a nice little ceremony going on. Might be worth checking out and spending a few minutes of your day thinking about what she represents and how much comfort she’s brought to many over the years.

Hope this answers your question and ‘long may she wave!’
Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at DearCrabby@rochestermedia.com.

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