The American flag is the greatest symbol of the United States. It represents our past, present, and future. We stand to pledge our allegiance to it, and lower it to half-staff on special holidays or when tragedy has struck our nation. It is ceremoniously folded and presented when a member of our military passes, and it is custom to ensure it never touches the ground.

It is for these reasons that we set aside a day each year to honor our flag, June 14, the anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes. It is believed that the flag’s birthday, which would become known simply as Flag Day, was first celebrated in 1885 by a schoolteacher and his students. This observation would catch on at other schools, and eventually states began recognizing this special day.

From there, it wasn’t until 1916 that Flag Day was officially established through a proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson, and another 33 years before President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress to designate June 14 of each year as National Flag Day. This year marks 241 years since the flag was originally adopted.

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, it’s easy to get into the patriotic spirit. I encourage you to begin your celebrations a bit early and take the time to give special attention to our flag. It is an ever-present emblem in our lives, one we pass by every day without too much thought. So this year, whether it’s putting out your flag early or attending a Flag Day ceremony in your community, I hope you’ll join me in remembering that our flag represents the story of how the United States came to be.

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