FRAMINGHAM, MA - In June of 1886, Bernard J. Cigrand, a teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, who also was a frequent writer on subjects of U.S. History, patriotism and the American flag proposed the idea of a holiday to celebrate the Flag's Birthday.
The article appeared in a newspaper article titled "The Fourteenth of June".
Although the original intention of Flag Day was to celebrate the adoption of the American flag, (on June 14, 1777), it has become much more of a patriotic holiday, one on which we not only celebrate national pride for the flag, but a day when we remember those who have fought and sometimes died in order to protect what our flag stands for.
History of Flag Day in Framingham
- In 1912 Framingham held it's first Flag Day Parade with support from the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
- On Flag Day in 1944, just nine days after D-Day, (June 6, 1944), a WWII Honor Roll listing the 3,083 names of Framingham citizens who fought in the war was erected at the Memorial Building.
- After WWII, Flag Day Parades were only held some years, and then not at all, until, in 1986 the Framingham Celebration Committee organized a Flag Day parade that become one of the most anticipated Town events for the next nineteen years. Marching bands, Red, White and Blue decorated floats, military, police and fire vehicles, Shriner's and tiny little cars, clowns, bagpipers and local groups would parade up Union Ave., around Memorial Square and down Concord Street. Families lined the streets with children waving flags. In some of the last years it was held a huge reviewing stand was erected in front of the Elk's Lodge and the entire parade would be broadcast on local t.v.
- The last Flag Day Parade was held in 2005 when organizers explained that attendance was dwindling, donations had dropped off, and not enough people were willing to volunteer to help with the parade.
- In 2006 Framingham's Annual Flag Day Parade was replaced with a Flag Day Celebration held on the former Cushing Hospital grounds which was then known as Tercentennial Park, but rededicated in 2007 as Cushing Memorial Park.
- A page on the U.S. Library of Congress' American Folklife Center website lists Framingham as being the site of the first American flag manufacturer, (although the name of the manufacturer, nor it's location is provided). The page which is in the "Local Legacies" section was contributed by U.S. Senator Ed Markey.
Brief History of the U.S. Flag
On June 14, 1777, a flag with 13 stars and 13 stripes designed and sewn by Betsy Ross was adopted as official flag of the United States of America.
"Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be Thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.", (from Journal of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 Vol. Vlll).
As more states were added to the Union, more stars have been added to the flag.
- In 1795 with Vermont and Kentucky now states, the flag was redesigned. Two stars and two additional stripes were added, and that flag was used until 1818. This is the only official U.S. flag to have more than 13 stripes.
- Between 1818 and 1912, more than 20 variations of the flag's star field have changed to reflect each new state which then numbered 46. Some variations were only in use for a year or two, others for ten years or more.
- In 1912, with Arizona and New Mexico joined as the 47th and 48th states in the union the flag was again redesigned to have 48 stars, and remained that way until 1959.
- In 1959, a 49th star was added for Alaska.
- On July 4th, 1960 with Hawaii's statehood, the number of stars was increased to 50. This is the flag we fly today --- it has been the official Flag of The United States of American for more than 50 years!
- Future U.S. Flags - The U.S. government has already designed flags with additional stars, (in case Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories are given statehood).
Official Establishment of Flag Day
In the 1890's at first several towns, then several states adopted Bernard Cigrand's idea for a holiday to celebrate "The Flag's Birthday". Over the next decade dozens of states adopted the holiday, and in May of 1916 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14th to be a nationally recognized day of observance of the American flag. Below is an excerpt from Wilson's first Flag Day address, on June 14, 1916 --
"…As I see the winds lovingly unfold the beautiful lines of our great flag, I shall seem to see a hand pointing the way of duty, no matter how hard, no matter how long, which we shall tread while we vindicate the glory and honor of the United States."
Nearing the final days of World War II, on May 28, 1945, President Harry S. Truman officially proclaimed June 14th as Flag Day. Below is the open lines of the proclamation --
"It is our custom each year to set aside a day on which to render special honor to our Flag. We celebrate Flag Day this year with a fresh sense of our strength as a nation. Solemnly, we accept the responsibilities placed upon us by our power. We honor the men and women in the armed services and in the factories and homes who, with God's help, have given us our victories. We face the battle ahead with solemn gratitude for the triumphs of the past...."
www.nationalflagday.com - National Flag Day Foundation
loc.gov - Local Legacies at Library of Congress American Folklife Center
www.presidency.ucsb.edu - American Presidency Project, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
www.woodrowwilson.org - Woodrow Wilson Library
www.framingham.com - older Flag Day news on framingham.com
www.framingham.com - 1999 Flag Day Parade in Framingham
www.framingham.com - "Framingham An American Town", (book by Stephen W. Herring)
en.wikipedia.org - Flag of the United States info at WikiPedia