It was reported in 1915 in the Daughters of the American Revolution summary from its Gaviota Chapter (Long Beach) that “there is a United States Flag in every school room in the public schools of Long Beach and the West Point salute is known by every school child and given on ‘Flag Day.’” The local DAR Chapter also reported visiting local businesses with a copy of the California Flag Law.
To many, June 14th has always been more than a day marked on our calendars as “Flag Day.” It has been one of the most important of our patriotic days. For it is the day that celebrates that on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag.
There are numerous stories about citizens celebrating our nation’s flag and helping turn June14th into a national day of recognition for the Stars and Stripes.
Two teachers are significant in recognizing the “birthday of the Flag.” The first annual recognition of the flag's birthday dates back to 1885, BJ Cigrand, first organized a group of Wisconsin school children to observe June 14 - the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes as the Flag's Birthday. Cigrand, now known as the “Father of Flag Day,” continued to publicly advocate the observance of June 14 as the flag's “birthday”, or “Flag Day” for years. Just a few years later the efforts of another school teacher, George Balch, led to the formal observance of “Flag Day” on June 14 by the New York State Board of Education.
Since 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14, Americans have commemorated the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by celebrating June 14 as Flag Day. Prior to 1916, many localities and a few states had been celebrating the day for years. Congressional legislation designating that date as the national Flag Day was signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1949; the legislation also called upon the president to issue a flag day proclamation every year.
This week Long Beach will celebrate Flag Day with the placement of new US flags along Clark Avenue between Willow and Carson and with the raising of the Stars and Stripes over the El Dorado Community Center. The flag is special because it was briefly flown over the U.S. Capitol and provide by Congressman Alan Lowenthal. At noon, there will be a brief ceremony and music followed by the 1932 musical “Yankee Doodle Dandy” that featured the tune “You’re A Grand Ole Flag.” Refreshments and small US Flags will be provided.
Copies of flag etiquette and the history of the US Flag can be obtained by calling my office at: 562 570-6932 or going on line to: http://www.longbeach.gov/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=36781