Believed to have originated in 1885, B.J. Cigrand, a school teacher, arranged for the pupils in his Wisconsin public school class to observe the 14th day of June as our Flag’s “birthday”, or Flag Day. This is also the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes. In the following years, Cigrand maintained his passionate enthusiasm in the observance of June 14th as “Flag Birthday” or “Flag Day”.
On Flag Day 1889, a New York City kindergarten teacher by the name of George Balch, arranged ceremonies for the children of his school, whose idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York.
In 1894, Roswell Flower, then-governor of New York, instructed that on June 14th our Flag be displayed on every public building. With B.J. Cigrand and L. Van Horn pioneering the movement, the Illinois-based American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of sponsoring the holding of Flag Day exercises.
Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior and for whom the Woodhaven, Queens-based high school bordering Cypress Hills Cemetery is named in honor of, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address, in which he repeated the very words he said the Flag had spoken to him that morning: “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, the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, was officially recognized by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3, 1949 that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
Please join Cypress Hills Cemetery and Canarsie Cemetery in honoring our Nation’s Flag by displaying your Flag proudly outside of your home, in your windows, on your desk and everywhere you can to show your appreciation for our Nation’s freedom!