By the summer of 1777, the newly created United States of America was in full-fledge revolt, and the Revolutionary War was well along. A year earlier, George Washington gave Betsy Ross the responsibility of creating a flag for the American Colonies to symbolize unification during this struggle. On June 14th, 1777, the Second Continental Congress met. While there were many things on their agenda for the day, the congress officially adopted the flag created by Betsy Ross. Officially, in the resolution stated:
“Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representating a new Constellation.”
After 1777, June 14th was just seen as another normal summer day in the United States. This would begin to change, however, exactly 100 years later in 1877. A schoolteacher named Bernard J. Cigrand began promoting the day we now call Flag Day. Throughout his career, he constantly contacted the United States Congress, hoping they would make Flag Day a federal holiday. Eventually, his persistence paid off. In 1916, Woodrow Wilson announced that June 14th would be called Flag Day. In 1949, an Act of Congress finally made Flag Day an official holiday.
Flag Day Today
While Flag Day is federally recognized today, it is not recognized in the same manner as other, significant federal holidays, like Christmas Day and Thanksgiving. Still, Flag Day is almost always found on calendars, and many organizations and communities throughout the United States recognize it in some fashion. While it is not mandated, Flag Day is generally regarded as the best day of the year to retire weathered or worn flags. As one would expect, flag disposal is performed in a very dignified manner. Flags are usually folded in the customary triangle manner, placed in a fire large enough to ensure the entire flag burns, and individuals at the ceremony salute or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. At the end of the ceremony it is customary to have a moment of silence, and to bury the ashes once the flag has been completely consumed.
Southport Flag Retirement Ceremony
To help the community properly dispose used American flags, the community of Southport’s Annual Flag Retirement Ceremony is returning in 2017. It will be held on Flag Day, which is Wednesday, June 14th, in 2017, at approximately 7:30pm. The event organizers are expecting over 600 flags to be retired this year. This retirement ceremony will be held at Southport Park, which is just off East Southport Road between Madison Avenue and McFarland Road. If you are unable to attend this event, you can drop off your flag at the park, and it will be properly retired for you on Flag Day.
Children’s Museum of Evansville
Between June 13th and June 16th, the Children’s Museum of Evansville will recognize Flag Day in its own manner. Between 10:30am and 2:30pm each day, visitors can celebrate both Flag Day and Father’s Day by decorating their own flag. Flags can be drawn to represent the United States flag, or they can celebrate Dad and the rest of the family. It is totally up to the visiting kids. This fun extra activity is included with admission completely free of charge.
Flag Day in Elkhart
Both the Ruthmere Museum and the Havilah Beardsley House in Downtown Elkhart will also have a small recognition of Flag Day. Visitors to both of these famous Elkhart landmarks will receive a free flag with their tours. For those unfamiliar with these landmarks, the Ruthmere Museum is a preservation effort of Ruthmere, an early 20th-century mansion in Elkhart. It was originally owned by the Beardsley Family, the same family that built Havilah Beardsley House in the 1830s. The Beardsley Family is credited with founding Elkhart.
The Elks and Flag Day
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, more commonly known as The Elks, is a national fraternal organization designed to help the less fortunate in the United States. Each location, deemed a Lodge, reaches out to its community by hosting soup kitchens, providing homework health for youth and holding summer camps for children and adults with disabilities. Flag Day is extremely important to The Elks. Since 1911, the national headquarter for The Elks, The Grand Lodge of the Order, has mandated that every Lodge in the United States recognize Flag Day. In Indiana, there are 60 different Lodges. Contact your local Elks Lodge to see if it has anything specific planned for Flag Day this year. Many Elks locations across the United States have special, public ceremonies for Flag Day.
The American Legion and Flag Day
Like The Elks, the various American Legion locations across the United States have events around Flag Day. In 1937, the 19th National Convention of the American Legion designated June 14th, Flag Day, as the best day to retire flags. At this convention, they even laid out detailed instructions for the ceremony, which are still used today. The American Legion has quite a number of locations across Indiana. Their website has a catalog of posts, allowing you to find the one nearest you. Before attending, find out if the post allows the public to attend any of its Flag Day ceremonies.
Founders Brewing Flag Day
Founders Brewing is hosting a rather unconventional Flag Day celebration this year. Between 7:00pm and 10:00pm on June 14th, they can be found at Sinking Ship at the intersection of North College Avenue and East 49th Street in southern Broad Ripple. Here, visitors will be able to get a taste of All Day IPA, PC Pils, Centennial IPA, Doom, Lemon Drop and Rubaeus.