The banks stay open, the mail gets delivered and no one gets the day off.
So why does Flag Day matter? How should it be observed?
June 14 marks the day that the Second Continental Congress adopted the deisign of the first American flag. It still matters today because the Americna flag is still the most recognized symbol of freedom and democracy in the history of the world.
A glimpse back in history:
When America soldiers paratrooped into France on D-Day, they had the U.S. Flag on their uniforms. Few people they encountered spoke english; but the flags the solderies wore said freedom. Everyone understood that. Everyone still does.
Our current 50 star flag was designed by Scout Robert Heft of Lancaster OH in 1958. Knowing the legislation to make Alaska and Hawaii our 49th and 50th states was being considered, Heft designed a 50 star flag and submitted it for a civics project. His teacher gave him a B minus. “What do I have to do to get an A for this?”, asked Heft. The teacher answered, “Get the President to aprove it”.
So, Heft sent a letter to President Eisenhower with the proposed design. A few weeks later, he received a letter from Eisenhower approving the design and congratulating him. And yes, Heft received an A on his civics project.
Connecting Flag Day to the BSA’s Outdoor Programs
Our flag represnts us all, regardless of our background or our religion or our personal beliefs. It’s the symbol we all share and the symbol we all should respect. Scouting honored the U.S. Flag in 1972 by adding it to all BSA uniforms.
Citizenship is one of the aims of Scouting! When we say the Scout Oath and our recite the Pledge of Allegiance we are affiriming our commitment to our “duty to country”.
This summer as you head outdoors, consider how you can celebrate Flag Day and help engage your Scouts and Scouters with this crucial foundational piece of Scouting. Ideas include:
- A special flag ceremony at camp with a note about the history of Flag Day and this visible representation of our country’s freedom.
- Weave these conversations into your Cub Scout day camp or resident camp programs – how does caring for the outdoors show our respect for our country? How can we take care of the flag as a member of a den or pack?
- Scouts BSA summer camp participants could discuss Flag Day and the importance of citizenship during their merit badge programs, around the campfire or at a special ceremony.
And fere’s a small glimpse of what Scouting around America does on Flag Day:
- Laurel Highlands Council of Pittsburg PA has a grand flag plaza outside of their council offices. Each June 14, hundreds of scouts participate in a two hour celebration in the plaza showing their love of the flag and Scouting’s devotion to it.
- Troop 6 of Batavia IL has observed an annual flag day program called “Flags over Batavia” since 2013 to raise awareness and promote the flying of our flag on Flag Day. Check it out at: http://troop6batavia.org
- Troop 1103 of Katy TX will display a flag on the lawn of local residents 7 times a year for a small donation. Get more information at: https://www.troopwebhosting.org>troop1103Katy
- Troop 44 of Johnston IA plans to conduct a public flag retirement ceremony in conjunction with the Johnston Fire Department. More information is at: https://www.troop44.org.
So be sure to fly your flag proudly on Flag Day. Show the rest of our country that Scouting loves the flag and what it stands for.