Is June 14 the forgettable holiday?
There will probably not be fireworks or time off from work. There may not be any celebration at all, but the calendar says that today is the designated holiday to honor the stars and stripes: Flag Day. The holiday provides an opportunity to honor the nation’s most recognizable symbol.
Flag day is not a federal holiday, however, it is a state holiday in both New York and Pennsylvania. Many people in the United States honor Flag Day by displaying the American flag at homes and public buildings. Other popular ways of observing this holiday include: flag-raising ceremonies; Flag Day services; school quizzes and essay competitions about the American flag; musical salutes; street parades; and awards for special recognition. On May 30, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson suggested that the fourteenth day of June be observed as Flag Day. President Harry Truman later signed Flag Day’s permanent observance into law in 1949, but it was long overlooked in terms of significance to most Americans. Flag Day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. flag in 1777.
The flag of the United States represents freedom and has been an enduring symbol of the country, since its early days. The American flag, also nicknamed as “Old Glory” or “star-spangled banner”, has changed designs over the centuries. It consists of 13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars. Each of the 50 stars represents one of the 50 states in the United States and the 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies that became the first states in the Union.
Flag day is also, the traditional day for the disposal of the American flag. There are several ways to respectfully dispose of the American flag without showing disgrace. The most common method is burning the torn or tattered flag in a special ceremony. The local American Legions have disposal ceremonies of the American Flag. There are two local official flag burnings taking place today at 6 p.m.; one at the American Legion #471 on Gallia Street and another at the James Dickey Post #23 located at 7th & Court Streets. Anyone may drop off their flags that may be worn out or tattered & torn at the legions today anytime before the ceremonies. The legion members participating in the ceremonies will be attired in full dress for the ceremonies. Bob Neal of Post #471, expressed that there is a respectful and proper way to dispose of the flag because all veterans have served this flag, and we don’t want to just trash it, which is how the legion came up with the disposal on Flag Day. Neal also said that there are other groups that dispose of the flag, and that years ago when he was a Boy Scout, they use to burn them, but they would first strip off the stripes in their ceremony.
Neal and Beecher Wright of the American Legion Post #23 state there is also a correct way to display your flag at your home or business. The flag should be hung on a pole in a place where it blows in the wind and/or traffic can see it. Neal stated that they needed to be hung right-side up, because if it was hung upside down, that would signal distress. As far as holidays are concerned, both men said the preference is up to each individual or business — the is no mandate.
Wright also said it is best to have the flags burned on flag day at the legions, but if you need to have a flag disposed of, you can drop them off to the legion at any time and they would take care of the proper disposal. They will inspect the flag and make sure it is tattered and torn, then they will pass it on to be burned properly.
Whether you celebrate Flag day or not, it does seem important to at least display your flag to represent your love of country and thanks to those who have fought under the our American flag.