In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.
Title 36 of the United States Code, Subtitle I, Part A, CHAPTER 1, § 110is the official statute on Flag Day, however it is at the President's discretion to proclaim officially the observance.
The largest Flag Day parade is held annually in Troy, New York, which typically draws 50,000 spectators.
The earliest reference to the suggestion of a "Flag Day" is cited in Kansas: a Cyclopedia of State History, published by Standard Publishing Company of Chicago in 1912. It credits George Morris of Hartford, Connecticut:
The observance apparently did not become a tradition.
Working as a grade school teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, in 1885, Cigrand held the first recognized formal observance of Flag Day at Stony Hill School in Waubeka. The school has been restored, and a bust of Cigrand also honors him at the National Flag Day Americanism Center in Waubeka.
From the late 1880s on, Cigrand spoke around the country promoting patriotism, respect for the flag, and the need for the annual observance of a flag day on June 14, the day in 1777 that the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes.
He moved to Chicago to attend dental school and, in June 1886, first publicly proposed an annual observance of the birth of the United States flag in an article titled "The Fourteenth of June," published in the Chicago Argus newspaper. In June 1888, Cigrand advocated establishing the holiday in a speech before the "Sons of America," a Chicago group. The organization founded a magazine, American Standard, in order to promote reverence for American emblems. Cigrand was appointed editor-in-chief and wrote articles in the magazine as well as in other magazines and newspapers to promote the holiday.
On the third Saturday in June 1894, a public school children’s celebration of Flag Day took place in Chicago at Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks. More than 300,000 children participated, and the celebration was repeated the next year.
Cigrand became president of the American Flag Day Association and later of the National Flag Day Society, which allowed him to promote his cause with organizational backing. Cigrand once noted he had given 2,188 speeches on patriotism and the flag.
Cigrand lived in Batavia, Illinois, from 1913–1932.
William T. Kerr, a resident of Collier Township, Pennsylvania, for a number of years, founded the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania in 1888, and became that organization's national chairman one year later, serving as such for fifty years. He attended President Harry S. Truman's 1949 signing of the Act of Congress that formally established the observance.
In 1889, the principal of a free kindergarten, George Bolch, celebrated the anniversary of the Flag resolution at his New York City school. Soon the State Board of Education of New York, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, and the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution celebrated Flag Day, as well.
In 1893, Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, a descendant of Benjamin Franklin and the president of the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania, attempted to have a resolution passed deeming June 14 as Flag Day. That same year, the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania were responsible for a resolution passed requiring the American flag to be displayed on all Philadelphia's public buildings. This is why some credit Philadelphia as Flag Day's original home. In 1937, Pennsylvania became the first state to make Flag Day a legal holiday.
The week of June 14 is designated as "National Flag Week." During National Flag Week, the president will issue a proclamation urging U.S. citizens to fly the American flag for the duration of that week. The flag should also be displayed on all Government buildings. Some organizations hold parades and events in celebration of America's national flag and everything it represents.
The National Flag Day Foundation holds an annual observance for Flag Day on the second Sunday in June. The program includes a ceremonial raising of the flag, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem (The Star-spangled Banner), a parade and more.
The Betsy Ross House, has long been the site of Philadelphia's observance of Flag Day.