Adorned with 50 stars and 13 stripes, the red, white and blue flag represents solidarity, freedom and liberty as the powerhouse off all nations for igniting democracy in the free world. “Old Glory,” or the American flag, signifies respect and celebration for the American people. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson decreed June 14 as Flag Day to showcase America’s pride for the stars and stripes, and most importantly, its people.
How did this day give birth to this small but mighty recognition as a holiday? In 1885, one rural town teacher from Wisconsin, Bernard Cigrand, sparked the idea for an annual flag day to be celebrated across the U.S. on June 14. On that day in 1885, Mr. Cigrand proudly marched his school to observe the first formal observance of this holiday. He continued to promote and advocate for the flag’s respect ever since.
Moving forward, its current design represents a significant historical background, too. During the 1950’s, Alaska would be accepted to the Union, in which designers started reworking the design of the American flag to add its 49th star to its current 48 stars. Simultaneously, a 17-year old high school student, Bob Heft, used his mother’s sewing machine to reconfigure his family’s 48-star flag to reflect an even, 50-star pattern.
Heft submitted his new creation to his history teacher for a class assignment. He explained that Hawaii would soon be expected to be selected for statehood, too. Additionally, he sent his flag to his congressman, Walter Moeller, in which presented the new concept design to President Eisenhower when the two states joined the Union. In celebratory success, Eisenhower selected Heft’s design. On July 4, 1960, Eisenhower and Heft united together to unveil the 50-star flag to be raised and represented for the American people. Heft’s teacher changed his class grade from a B- to an achieving A.
This year, 11-year-old Adeline Rennebeck, daughter of Insulators Local 2 member Willie Rennebeck will partake in the AFL CIO salute to Flag Day this Sunday by reading a Flag Day poem. Local 2 will post the short homage video presentation via Zoom next week.
Contributing source: What is Flag Day? By Jennie Cohen