Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day in the USA



Today is Flag Day in the USA.  Because it is not one of our Federal holidays (which means I'll still get bills and junk mail thanks to the post office), it is one we often overlook.  Why is that, you ask.  I'm going to postulate some theories.  Please be aware, I am only talking about and TO those of us who live in the United States.

First, it comes about half way between Memorial Day and the 4th of July.  People often display their flags between those two events anyway, so why call attention to it?

Second, since the first flag day was apparently observed in a classroom, and most schools in the states are now on leave for the summer, who will be there to shape those inquisitive minds?  Who will point out this is a special day and why it's important?  After taking care of two tweens and a teen for a little over a week by myself, I have serious doubts, unless you home school your children, you will take time to explain what Flag Day is all about and what it stands for.

Third, I believe most parents (and even the majority of the American public) know very little about this day.  I'm fairly certain I never learned about it in school, whether it was K-12, undergrad, or my two grad schools.  And I suspect most parents are busy pouring over maps (or squinting at e-maps) of various off-the-highway motels where they will stay each night until they reach Disneyland, a.k.a. the "happiest place on earth," rather than learning about this not-quite-a-holiday holiday!

Fourth, we already have 11 official and several three-day holidays as decided by the 1968 Uniform Holiday Act.  We simply can't party all the time, even though car dealers, big box stores of all kinds, and shoe companies seem to pull out all the stops in response to any of those uniform holidays.

Fifth, Flag Day has little to no support.  Look at all the groups that supported Labor Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Where were they when it came to garnering support for Flag Day?  Flag Day not only has no support, it gets no respect, and there is no one (or group) to champion its cause.

Sixth, some people will point out that Flag Day is EVERY day.  To some extent, I have seen more flags flying this year, than in previous years.  Perhaps it's the dissatisfaction of, or satisfaction with, our government, or perhaps it's just patriotism in a time when it is truly needed.

Seventh, I admit I didn't come up with this theory.  I can only claim credit for the repartee associated with the above six.  This theory was pointed out in a book by Marc Leepson, author of the 2005 book “Flag: An American Biography.” According to Leepson:
The US flag does not represent federal Washington. It does not represent the power of the state. It represents the assembly of citizens into a government of them, by them, and for them. The citizens of no other nation on earth fly their flags everywhere they live and go.
Leepson further adds:
By and large it has been individual American businessmen, teachers, journalists, politicians and private organizations – primary but not exclusively veterans’ groups and patriotic organizations – that have developed and pushed for many of the important changes in the evolution of the flag’s cultural importance.
Note there is nothing in that statement about the actual day.  Too bad his statement didn't help poor unloved Flag Day.

So, what IS Flag Day, you ask.  Flag Day commemorates that day in 1777 when the United States approved the design of its first national flag.  Simple, isn't it?  It doesn't get much easier than that, parents!

According to Flag Day's web site:
Each year the U.S. president delivers an address that proclaims the week of June 14 as National Flag Week, and all Americans are encouraged to fly U.S. flags during that week.
I'm still waiting for that address, Mr. Trump.  Perhaps you tweeted it instead!

Whether you live in the USA or across the world, whether you are a reader, a follower, or just a casual visitor, in the true spirit of this event, I want to thank you for joining me today in celebration of this not-a-holiday holiday.

13 thoughtful remarks:

chrissie said...

An interesting post today Elizabeth. I have never heard of Flag Day before even though I have been blogging for years and visiting blogs from the US often.

Looks like Donald and Invanka haven't heard of it either as I saw in my online newspaper they were flying off to somewhere or other. I'm afraid I just skip by these articles nowadays.

Well done you for telling us all about this special day

Love Chrissie xx

Valerie-Jael said...

Interesting to learn about Flag Day. To be honest, I would have been surprised if Trump had mentioned it. Perhaps he could order a Donald Day, he might remember that one....Hugs, Valerie

Sami said...

Happy Flag Day Elizabeth, I'd never heard of it either.
Hope the President remembers it...but I doubt it, he must have more important things to do :)

CJ Kennedy said...

Schools in Massachusetts are still in session. Summer vacation begins for most Massachusetts school sometime next week. Perhaps, students are learning about Flag Day. Flags went up in the center of many towns for Memorial Day and the flags are still gracing Main Streets and will stay there through the Fourth of July. We just see so many flags at so many places and on so many things (clothing, picnicware) maybe we have become desensitized. And as you say, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day to round out the Summer season, another Federal holiday may be one too many.

Dianne said...

Very well said my dear friend! feeling thankful for our flag and what it stands for, regardless of who is 'representing' us in Washington...hugs from Ohio! ♥

My name is Erika. said...

I didn't know what Flag Day was about myself, and I am a school teacher. Thank you for sharing! Now I can explain that everyone, even if they don't want to listen. HA-HA! And if the President tells us something not this, then I guess it will be one of those alternative facts he is so good at. OK, no politics from me. :) Happy Flag Day. Hugs-Erika

Sandra Cox said...

Ironic that we should have such a terrifying shooting on a day of patriotism isn't it?

Divers and Sundry said...

Happy Flag Day! I've got a flag banner hanging on my front door to mark the day, but I won't leave it up. I'll get it back out on the 4th.

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Wow.. interesting to learn about Flag Day! Thanks for sharing Elizabeth!
oxo Susi

Meggymay said...

Well this was an interesting read. I really appreciate you explaining to us the significance of Flag Day, something I have to admit to never having heard about.
. So however you celebrated today. I hope it had been a good day.
Yvonne xxx

Jeanie said...

An interesting and thoughtful post, Elizabeth. Lots of good information there I am ashamed to admit I didn't know. I'm surprised it wasn't at least mentioned by not-my-president. Maybe the shooting in DC changed the focus but I'll bet it wasn't on the agenda.

pearshapedcrafting said...

Your posts are always so interesting! I learn so much about American history! As for Mr Trump….Oh never mind!!! Chrisx

Let's Art Journal said...

I've joined you after visiting Diane's post as I had never heard of flag day before, well after reading your post (grin!) I hope you'll forgive me as I do live here in the UK (double grin!). Your post was very enlightening and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your insight into this not-a-holiday holiday 😀. Wishing you a happy belated flag day! J 😊