It’s time to celebrate Flag Day again

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By The Staff

Sunday, June 14, is Flag Day. Though it is not a standout in the hierarchy of American holidays, Flag Day has a history, traditions and still attracts a share of support.

Unfortunately for Flag Day, it splits the hectic days of early summer between Memorial Day and 4th of July. It is overshadowed by graduations and runs up on Father’s Day.

In these busy times, Flag Day can easily pass unnoticed. And falling on a Sunday (this year) doesn’t help.

But it wasn’t always so neglected. A search of Flag Day history through various Web sites and newspaper archives show, the holiday was once revered with the same spirit and patriotic fervor as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Veterans Day.

Of course that was back when Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day and Veterans Day was celebrated on Armistice Day.

Every year, there were Flag Day stories, Flag Day photos and scheduled events. It was a day for brass bands, Boy Scouts and parades. Politicians seized the occasion to talk, and fraternal organizations celebrated. Flag Day was so big in the Northeast, there was an unsuccessful movement to combine it with Decoration Day uniting their common heritage.

There was also an unsuccessful resolution in Congress to make it a national holiday, but President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation on June 14, 1916 calling for a national observance of Flag Day.

Flag Day may have reached its zenith during World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his Flag Day radio address. But it continued to be celebrated, especially in the Upper Midwest, where the holiday has its roots.

According to the National Flag Day Foundation, the first Flag Day celebration was June 14. 1885, started by a Wisconsin schoolteacher.

So what is the status of Flag Day 2009? It will mark the 232nd anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by the Second Continental Congress. As the flag remains a big part of our daily lives, it’s probably time to give this enduring symbol its due.

Take a few minutes to reflect on the American Flags you see in the next few days and think of all the cultural icons that have come and gone, while Old Glory remains basically the same – owned by all of us.

It’s time to start celebrating Flag Day again.