PLATTSBURGH — Flags will be waving across the region today as area residents and businesses mark Flag Day.
According to usflag.org, the idea of an annual day celebrating the U.S. flag is believed to have first originated in 1885.
“BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin, Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as ‘Flag Birthday.’ In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’ or ‘Flag Day’.”
The celebration spread in future years to New York City and then to Philadelphia.
“Following the suggestion of Col. J. Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893, adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the flag on June 14th,” the website usflag.org reports.
“Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as ‘Flag Day,’ and on that day, schoolchildren be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small flag.”
In 1894, New York Gov. Roswell P. Flower directed that on June 14 the flag be displayed on all public buildings.
“With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization known as the American Flag Day Association was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises,” the website reports.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane delivered a 1914 Flag Day address where he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: “I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”