Flag Day Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Flag Day is a holiday that is often overlooked, but it has a rich history and significance to the United States of America. Come and learn about this holiday in this lesson.

Why Do We Celebrate Flag Day?

Think of all of the things you are grateful for in your life. What things are you thankful for? You might be grateful for your family, friends, school or toys, but have you ever given thanks to your country?

Loving your country is known as patriotism. There are many ways that you can be patriotic, including waving the American flag. While you can do this any time of year, there is one particular holiday that is specially made for displaying the American flag. It is known as Flag Day, and we celebrate it every year on June 14th. This holiday is the anniversary of when the United States adopted its official flag many years ago.

The American flag
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History of Flag Day

You probably know that the 4th of July is America's birthday. We celebrate this holiday because America gained its independence on July 4th, 1776. So, what is the significance of June 14th? Well, this was the day that Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes back in 1777. This means that they chose the red, white and blue flag to be the official flag of America.

Did you know that Flag Day began in elementary school? Yes, it's true! On June 14th, 1885, a 19-year-old teacher named Bernard (BJ) Cigrand arranged for his students to observe 'Flag Birthday.' He put a flag on his desk, had the students write essays about the flag and led ceremonies that honored the flag. The media heard about this and it started to inspire others. Two years later, the State Board of Education in New York recognized Flag Day as a holiday. Two years after that, the Betsy Ross House (she was the woman who designed the flag) held a celebration, as well.

The word about Flag Day continued to spread around the country, until 1916 when President Wilson issued a proclamation, which is a formal, important and public statement. His proclamation encouraged all Americans to observe Flag Day. In 1949, President Truman made it official by declaring Flag Day as an official national holiday.

The first official Flag Day in Washington DC
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