Every June 14, we commemorate the adoption in 1777 of the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States with the observance of Flag Day.
The first unofficial observance occurs on June 14, 1885. Bernard J. Cigrand, a 19-year-old teacher at Stony Hill School in Waubeka, Wisconsin, places a 38-star U.S. flag in an inkwell on his desk and asks his students to write an essay on the meaning of the flag and its significance to people of the United States. Mr. Cigrand’s school assignment begins his long, devoted effort to bring about national recognition and observance of Flag Day.
The crowning achievement of his life comes at age 50 in 1916, when President Wilson issues a proclamation calling for the nationwide observance of Flag Day. Thirty-three years later, President Truman signs an Act of Congress designating the fourteenth day of June every year as National Flag Day. On June 14, 2004, Flag Day is recognized as originating in Ozaukee County, Waubeka Wisconsin.
Bernard Cigrand’s Stony Hill School is now a historical site and he will forever be known as the Father of Flag Day, dedicating himself to inspire his students and all Americans in the real meaning and majesty of our flag.
The Father of Flag DayBernard Cigrand’s love of American history is inspired by his father. A patriot with a great love for our flag, Bernard’s surname comes from the French word meaning, “so great.” As a youth, he sells scrap iron to buy books and works as a conductor on a steam barge before teaching school, working his way through college and graduating first in his class from Lake Forest College of Dentistry. As a contributing editor of the Encyclopedia Americana, he writes, “The Recognition and Meaning of Flag Day,” as well as widely distributed pamphlet, “Laws and Customs Regulating the use of the Flag of the United States.” Throughout his life, he writes books on the American experience: The Story of the American Flag, The Real Abraham Lincoln and History of American Emblems are among them. He is just 20 years old when he makes his first public proposal for the annual observance of the birth of the flag in an article titled, “The Fourteenth of June,” published in the Chicago Argus newspaper. Bernard Cigrand goes on to become editor-in-chief of American Standard magazine, which helps encourage public attention of the flag and its birthday. In the years that follow, 36 governors, scores of mayors and five Presidents of the United States help in his efforts to observe Flag Day in all states of the Union on the actual June 14 anniversary of the adoption of the flag.
Known as the “Stars and Stripes,” the distinctive flag is the official national symbol of the United States of America, which is authorized by Congress on Saturday, June 14, 1777. The fifth item of the day’s agenda, the entry in the journal of the Continental Congress 1774-1789 Vol. Vlll 1777 reads, “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.”
Celebrate Flag Day, Independence Day and other patriotic events with these beautifully crafted, hand-painted trophies. Perfect for corporate and military awards, each statue features the Stars and Stripes and an eagle captured in a landing pose, which is attached to a piano-finish rosewood base. Customize the attached plate with choice of metal, personalized wording and artwork.