In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The United States Army also celebrates the U.S. Army birthday on this date; Congress adopted "the American continental army" after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; on August 3, 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday. Title 36 of the United States Code, Subtitle I, Part A, CHAPTER 1, § 110 is the official statute on Flag Day; however, it is at the president's discretion to officially proclaim the observance. On June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday, beginning in the town of Rennerdale. New York Statutes designate the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday.
Perhaps the oldest continuing Flag Day parade is in Fairfield, Washington. Beginning in 1909 or 1910, Fairfield has held a parade every year since, with the possible exception of 1918, and celebrated the "Centennial" parade in 2010, along with some other commemorative events. Appleton, Wisconsin, claims to be the oldest National Flag Day parade in the nation, held annually since 1950.
Quincy, Massachusetts, has had an annual Flag Day parade since 1952 and claims it "is the longest-running parade of its kind" in the U.S. The largest Flag Day parade had been held annually in Troy, New York until 2017, which based its parade on the Quincy parade and typically draws 50,000 spectators. In addition, the Three Oaks, Michigan, Flag Day Parade is held annually on the weekend of Flag Day and is a three-day event and they claim to have the largest flag day parade in the nation as well as the oldest. In Washington, D.C., Flag Day is celebrated heavily through the 7th and 8th Wards of the city. It is said that Clyde Thompson is the "Godfather of Flag Day". It is tradition in these wards to slow smoke various meats and vegetables.
Observance of Flag Day
The Betsy Ross House, PhiladelphiaThe week of June 14 (June 09–15, 2019; June 14–20, 2020; June 13–19, 2021) is designated as "National Flag Week." During National Flag Week, the president will issue a proclamation "urging the people to observe the day as the anniversary of the adoption on June 14, 1777, by the Continental Congress of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States of America." The flag should also be displayed on all government buildings. Some organizations, such as the town of Dedham, Massachusetts, hold parades and events in celebration of America's national flag and everything it represents.
The National Flag Day Foundation holds an annual observance for Flag Day on the second Sunday in June (June 09, 2019; June 14, 2020; June 13, 2021). The program includes a ceremonial raising of the national flag, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of the national anthem, a parade and other events.
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore, Maryland birthplace of the flag that a year later inspired Francis Scott Key (1779–1843), to pen his famous poem, has celebrated Flag Day since the inception of a museum in the home of flag-banner-pennant maker Mary Pickersgill on the historic property in 1927. The annual celebrations on Flag Day and also Defenders Day (September 12, since 1814) commemorates the Star-Spangled Banner and its creator Mary Pickersgill, for the huge emblem that flew over Fort McHenry guarding Baltimore harbor during the British Royal Navy's three days attack in the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812 (1812–1815).
The Betsy Ross House, home of legendary Betsy Ross has long been the site of Philadelphia's observance of Flag Day.
Coincidentally, June 14 is also the date for the annual anniversary of the Bear Flag Revolt in California. On June 14, 1846, 33 American settlers and mountain men arrested the Mexican general in command at Sonoma, and declared the "Bear Flag Republic" on the Pacific Ocean coast as an independent nation. A flag emblazoned with a bear, a red stripe, a star and the words "California Republic" was raised to symbolize independence from Mexico of the former province of Alta California. The Bear Flag was adopted as California's state flag upon joining the Union as the 31st state in 1850, after being annexed by the United States following the Mexican–American War of 1846–1849. Prominently flying both the U.S.A. and state flags on June 14 is a tradition for some Californians.