June 14th is Flag Day. Do you celebrate Flag Day? How much could it cost?
Flag Day is one of the least well-known US holidays, although many communities fly multiple flags around municipal buildings on June 14 to acknowledge it. I always remember Flag Day because it happened to be my grandfather’s birthday and he would line his sidewalk with mini-flags as a tribute to the day (or to himself?).
When I see the flags lining the road in my community on Flag Day, it cheers me up and makes me realize that I should make more of an effort to celebrate Flag Day myself. Why not put up a flag by my front door or even by my mailbox? Other than a little effort, how much could that cost?
Well, I decided to investigate the matter a little further.
First of all, Flag Day is based on the fact that a resolution was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777 that identified the flag of the US as thirteen stripes of alternate red and white with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field. (As you may recall, we started with only 13 colonies.) According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the observance of the adoption of the flag was slow in coming. The flag was first carried into battle on September 11, 1777 in the Battle of Brandywine. Naval vessels first saluted the flag on February 14, 1778. It flew over a foreign territory in 1778.
The first Flag Day was not observed, however, until more than a century after the flag was adopted. The first claim of a Flag Day celebration was during a summer celebration in Hartford, Connecticut in 1861. In the late 1800s, schools all over the US held Flag Day celebrations to contribute to the Americanization of immigrant children. (Good idea…maybe we should still do that…or is it not politically correct?)
Through the years, multiple groups tried to get Congress to recognize Flag Day as a holiday. Pennsylvania declared it a state holiday in 1937. Both President Wilson and President Coolidge tried to get it declared an official holiday but failed (I guess they had problems working with Congress, too.). Finally, on August 3, 1949, President Harry Truman signed Flag Day as a holiday into law.
Now that I have convinced you that it is a legitimate holiday, how much will it cost for you to celebrate it properly? By that I mean ….how much will it cost for you to buy a flag of your own?
Well, for those of you who have seen the large American Flags at football stadiums, those flags may be out of your price range. (At least I know they are not in my price range.) Based upon a blog known as Gizmodo, those flags weigh 1100 pounds and cost $50,000 to make. They are a little too large for my house. And definitely a little too heavy for me to mount. The report by Gizmodo indicates that it takes about 150 people to properly display the large flags.
The good news is that flags are available online from prices starting as low as $2.00. They are also readily available from local hardware stores and big box stores. Experts tell me that I can purchase a “good” flag, meaning one that can be used many times and will survive the weather challenges, for about $20.
Now the real cost for celebrating Flag Day in the manner in which I remember celebrating it as a child is in the cost of the food, not the flag. Midwestern potato salad, fried chicken and beer were all part of the menu. While the impact on your wallet may be light, the impact on your arteries may be greater. I think the cost of properly celebrating Flag Day is definitely worth it. Why not try it this year?