In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. Why June 14 and not July 4? Because on June 14, 1777 the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution “that the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, and a union of thirteen stars of white on a blue field.” So, June 14 is the birthday of the American Flag.
The idea of having an annual day specifically to celebrate the Flag did not soon occur to anyone. In fact, several people and organizations played instrumental roles in the establishment of a national Flag Day celebration. But the first state to establish June 14 as a legal holiday was Pennsylvania. In 1893, the Society of Colonial Dames succeeded in getting a resolution passed to have the flag displayed on all of the city’s public buildings. Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, a direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin and the president of the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania, that same year tried to get the city to call June 14 Flag Day. Resolutions by women were not granted much notice at that time, so it was not until May 7, 1937 that Pennsylvania became the forst state to establish the June 14 Flag Day as a legal holiday. Flag Day is a nationwide observance today, but Pennsylvania is the ONLY state that recognizes it as a legal holiday.
Both President Wilson, in 1916, and President Coolidge, in 1927, issued proclamations asking for June 14 to be observed as National Flag Day. And many communities (including Philadelphia) continued to celebrate June 14 as Flag Day. But it wasn’t until August 3, 1949, that Congress approved the national observance and President Harry Truman signed it into law. And so, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress — however it is not an official federal holiday, and its observance is officially proclaimed at the discretion of the President of the United States. (According to Title 36 of the United States Code, Subtitle I, Part A, CHAPTER 1, 110. Just in case you’re interested.)
So why do I even mention Flag Day in a church blog? Read the following, and remember! Flag Day is a wonderful reminder to Christians that we should be praying for the President of the United States and for the nation in which we dwell.