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Flag Day offers several events

With the ceremonies and gala surrounding Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor the symbol of our nation is sometimes lost.

Monday, June 11, 2001

With the ceremonies and gala surrounding Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor the symbol of our nation is sometimes lost. Keeping with tradition, local groups are ready to celebrate the "Red, white and blue" Thursday on Flag Day.

The Ironton Elks will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Sherman Thompson Towers. A spokesperson for the the organization said the Elks has honored the day for more than 75 years.

Thursday will also mark the flagraising at the Veterans Memorial in Ironton at Woodland Cemetery. The group will meet at 5 p.m. with remarks made by Lawrence County Common Pleas Court Judge Frank J. McCown, and a speech by county commissioner George Patterson. The groundbreaking for the memorial will be conducted by Bill Ellis and Shawn Walker.

As with so many holidays, the actual beginning of the Flag Day is part history and part legend. Flag Day is believed to have first originated in 1885 and school teachers, not government officials, have been cited as the driving force behind the establishment of Flag Day.

According to historical information, B.J. Cigrand, a school teacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14, which was the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes, as "Flag Birthday." On June 14, 1889.

George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned Flag Day ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. After this, the celebration took off like wild fire. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, a year later the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Keeping with a suggestion of Col. J. Granville Leach, who was an historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution, the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the flag on June 14. Leach also recommend that the day be known as ‘Flag Day’, and school children be assembled for Flag Day exercises and each child should receive a flag.

Flag Day celebrations began to catch on in different cities and states in the nation. After nearly three-decades of localized Flag Day celebrations, Flag Day – the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 – was officially established a Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. It was, however, not until Aug. 3, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.