You have to travel to the small community of Waubeka, Wisconsin to discover the origins of America’s observance of Flag Day. That’s where in 1885 a grade school teacher by the name of Bernard J. Cigrand arranged for his students to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes) as “Flag Birthday.”
In the years that followed, Cigrand embarked on a national campaign through speeches and newspaper articles to get an official holiday on the books.
The movement picked up steam in 1894 when more than 300,000 public school students in Chicago took part in a celebration of the American flag. They did it again the next year.
Cigrand went on to head up the National Flag Day Society, which heavily promoted the patriotic cause nationally. At one point, the educator estimated he had delivered more than 2,000 speeches on the matter.
For three decades, Flag Day (June 14th, the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777) was celebrated in state and local celebrations across the country. President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation in 1916 establishing June 14 as Flag Day in the United States. It wasn’t until 1949 when President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day that the holiday became official.