Flag Day falls on June 14th every year and is meant to commemorate the adoption of the American flag (although, many other countries have their own observations too!) in 1777. The day is even more patriotic, however, because it is also the birthday of the United States Army (beginning in 1775).
The modern observation of Flag Day began with a proclamation issued by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 which became an Act of Congress in 1949. While it is not an official federal holiday, some states (Pennsylvania was the first in 1937), celebrate it as a statewide holiday.
The fact that it happens near the beginning of summer makes it a great day to get outdoors and celebrate as a family. There are many ways to honor, pay respect and have fun. Here are a few suggestions:
Attend a Celebration or Ceremony
Many areas invite the local community to join in on Flag Day Ceremony. A traditional celebration starts with a ceremonial flag raising in a central location. This can be followed by singing of the national anthem, a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and often dignitaries will give out local awards to community volunteers. Many celebrations also include a salute to the armed forces and conclude by playing Taps. Google events in your area.
What’s more American than a cookout highlighted by hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill and a good old apple pie? While those are perfect staples for a Flag Day celebration, you can also make an unlimited number of treats that combine three key colors – red, white and blue, of course! From fruit salads and cupcakes to frozen treats and (adult-friendly) jello shots, the ideas are endless!
Need some activities to keep little hands busy? Print out coloring pages and set out a box of crayons that include various shades of red, white and blue. You can also get more inventive and have contests for who can make the best American flag out of popsicle sticks and/or egg cartons.
Learn the History
While all of the crafts, treats and festivities are great, it’s also important to actually learn about why Flag Day is so important and special. You can engage with a little bit of trivia involving fun facts about the flag or you could watch patriotic films such as This is America, Charlie Brown (which is incredibly family-friendly!), National Treasure or Flags of Our Fathers. You can also take a virtual look at the flags as they evolved from the Betsy Ross flag through the current stars and stripes today.
How does your family spend Flag Day?