While lesser known and lesser celebrated than the two major patriotic holidays it's sandwiched between – Memorial Day and Independence Day – Flag Day presents a great opportunity to bust out the red, white, and blue and celebrate Old Glory. Celebrated on June the 14th, Flag Day dates back to 1885 when schoolteacher B.J. Cigrand and his students chose to celebrate the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the national flag of the United States.
After some campaigning, support from organizations such as the Sons of the Revolution and the Society of Colonial Days, and decades of slow adoption, President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day in 1916. However, it did not become a national holiday until 1949 when President Truman signed an Act of Congress making it an annual event.
Flag Day presents individuals with a great reason to raise the flag in their outdoor space. However, those who plan to install a flagpole or otherwise display the flag should follow a few rules to ensure that they are displaying the flag properly, as indicated by federal law.
One of the first things to bear in mind is to display the flag in proper lighting, during the day as well as at night. Those who intend to fly a flag at night should consider the installation of a small spotlight or some other type of outdoor lighting to illuminate the flag at all times. The flag should also be displayed properly – never upside down, as this is a sign of distress.
Taking proper measures to display the flag, such as installing a flagpole, can help ensure that it is never improperly displayed in your outdoor space. This can also make it easier to bring the flag inside during poor weather conditions when you should only display flags designed for use in inclement weather. It goes without saying that the flag should never be allowed to touch the ground, so use care when mounting and taking down the flag.
While one finds many flag-related décor items around this time of year, using the flag as a decoration is considered to be in poor taste. Instead use patriotic red, white, and blue decorative items. The federal government recommends bunting though garlands of red, white, and blue flowers, patriotic ribbons, and other items can also make for great outdoor décor.
Finally, always remember that part of showing pride in the flag is ensuring that the flag you display is clean, mended, and free of damage. For many people, Flag Day may be the appropriate occasion to discard of the old flag and to replace it with a new one. Just remember that old flags should be discarded through respectful burning in a private ceremony, after which you should bury the ashes. Those who don't have the option to dispose of the flag themselves can contact organizations that will do it for them. Veteran's Associations and the Boy Scouts are just two such organizations that can perform this patriotic duty.
This Flag Day, fly Old Glory as you prepare for the upcoming Independence Day celebrations just around the corner. And as you raise the flag, be sure to take a moment to remember the true meaning of the red, white, and blue and the many men and women who have made sacrifices so that you can fly it with pride.