This coming Thursday, June 14, is Flag Day.
It has been celebrated on the same date for more than 100 years. On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson by presidential proclamation designated June 14 of each year as Flag Day, a day to honor the most powerful symbol of Americanism. Even before that, efforts had been underway to set aside a day to honor the Flag. In 1907, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks by resolution set June 14 as Flag Day and made it mandatory that all Elks lodges observe the occasion each year. That practice remains a hallmark of the organization today.
Congress got into the act, literally, on Aug. 3, 1949, with legislation setting June 14 as the annual celebration of Flag Day. President Harry Truman signed the bill the same day making it official. Oddly enough, President Donald Trump was born on Flag Day, June 14, 1946.
June 14 was selected to commemorate the date – June 14, 1777 – that the resolution adopting the Stars and Stripes as the national flag was approved by the Second Continental Congress. Although it is not an official federal holiday, two states, Pennsylvania and New York, designate it as a state holiday. In addition, many cities and communities celebrate the day with parades and festivals.
Over the years, the Flag has been the target of protest and abuse. During the Vietnam War and at other times, those alleging freedom of speech guaranteed in the Constitution burned it in supposed opposition to acts of the U.S. government. Recently, some National Football League players have refused to stand and honor the Flag during the playing of the National Anthem before games.
Frankly, we feel these acts border on treason and should be dealt with as such. There is no doubt how Francis Scott Key would feel if he were alive today. As he watched throughout that night during the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British during the War of 1812, he waited to see if the Flag was still flying. When he saw that it was, he penned the immortal words of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that became the American National Anthem.
There is also no doubt how the marines who raised the Flag on top of Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi during World War II would feel. Nor would there be any doubt how the first responders who planted the Flag in the rubble at Ground Zero on 9/11 would feel.
George M. Cohan put it succinctly in his song, “You’re A Grand Old Flag” when he wrote, “It’s the emblem of the land I love, the home of the free and the brave … ”
We urge all Americans to fly the Flag Thursday to honor that Grand Old Flag.
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