Grand Old Flag

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You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
‘neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

When I was a third grader at Little Cypress Elementary, I learned and performed this song for a school event to commemorate the one year anniversary of 9/11.

Perhaps it’s the catchy tune, or perhaps I saw something more in the song, either way this song has stuck with me for the past 14 years.

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress adopted what would become the flag of the United States. (Fun fact: it’s also the birthday of the US Army, originated in 1775).

Originally the idea came in 1885, BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for his students to observe June 14 as the flag’s birthday. By 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher from New York City planned appropriate ceremonies for his students. His idea was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. After this, multiple celebrations ranging from the Betsy Ross House and the New York Sons of the Revolution would celebrate Flag Day.

In 1893, Colonel J Granville Leach suggested the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority, along with private citizens, should display the flag of June 14. Shortly after, the Board of Managers for the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution would endorse these actions. On June 14, 1893, all public schools of Philadelphia held Flag Day exercises in Independent Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small flag, and Patriotic songs were sung with addresses delivered.

Over the next three decades, state and local governments would begin to celebrate Flag Day. One hundred years ago (1916), Woodrow Wilson formally recognized June 14 as Flag Day. By 1949 National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.

Secretary of Interior, Franklin K. Lane, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address which said “I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”

Flag Day is a day to commemorate our nation. Some wake up in the morning, stretch, and remember the flag. Others wake up in the morning, stretch, and defend the flag. No matter what, there is no better day than Flag Day to keep your eye on the grand old flag.

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