Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission Awareness - Education - Inspiration

June 14: Flag Day


By THGC Admin

By Lorraine Okafor, Program Intern

"The Original Stars and Stripes" | Via the Library of Congress

Flag Day is soon arriving, and just as every other year, people across the United States are preparing for the celebration.

The name itself, “Flag Day,” does quite the job in delivering just what the holiday is about. The day, observed on June 14 every year, is not necessarily a public holiday, but it legally written as a national day of observance.

Some Americans may be familiar with the origins of the nation’s flag, as it was taught throughout primary education curriculum, but for those of us who are unaware, the United States of America’s current flag was not always as it is today. One of the very first designs bore thirteen red and white stripes and thirteen stars in a circle located in the upper left hand corner of the flag. This original design is popularly attributed to Betsy Ross. As the amount of territory increased for the United States, so did the number of stars. The acquisition of Alaska and Hawaii as states in 1959 led to the current fifty stars seen on our flag.

The origins of Flag Day-who may take responsibility for it, are somewhat tricky. I’ve found a few people credited in some way for the holiday. The first idea for a flag remembrance day was said to be in 1885 from BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher in Wisconsin. He advocated for June 14th to be the official day as, at the time, it was the 108th year of remembrance of the flag. George Balch, another schoolteacher, was also given some credit. In 1889 he planned ceremonies for his school children to observe the flag. Later, New York’s State Board of Education took notice and agreed to adopt the day. William Kerr, is another man given credit for the day of Flag Day. He was said promote the holiday as a schoolboy and later lobbied the government for its recognition.

Two U.S. presidents felt the need to observe Flag Day officially: President Wilson in 1916 and President Coolidge in 1927. But it wasn’t until 1949 when the United States Congress approved the former presidents’ proclamations. Flag Day was then officially signed into American history by President Harry S. Truman.

Flag Day is a day when Americans celebrate the ideals and the foundations of the Nation’s flag. Some observe it by placing a flag outside their house or business establishment, others erect a flag in a flag ceremony in honor of the day. However you plan on celebrating Flag Day, enjoy and remember your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!

The Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission is working with Texas Tech University to illuminate the experiences of Texan Liberators of World War II Nazi concentration camps.  If you know of a Liberator who was born within the state, or resided here at some point, please submit their information here.  We want to include every single serviceperson involved in the Liberation.  Thank you.

Tags: america flag flag day harry s. truman june 14 liberator project


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