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Flag Day


Scan of the 1927 Minute Man, featuring a Flag Day event held in Pittsburgh

"That the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation."

Pittsburgh's Flag Day Connection

William T. Kerr, a native of Pittsburgh and later a resident of Yeadon, Pennsylvania, founded the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania in 1888, and became the national chairman of the American Flag Day Association one year later, serving as such for fifty years. He attended President Harry S. Truman's 1949 signing of the Act of Congress that formally established the observance.



Delivered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the Sesquicentennial of the Adoption of the American Flag, June 14, 1927, at Reveille, in Schenley Park

This morning we have the unusual privilege of celebrating not only the birthday of our country's Flag, but also the sesquicentennial of its birth. Heartily do I compliment Colonel Franklin Blackstone, Chairman of the Flag Day Committee; President John L. Walker, of the Pennsylvania State Society, with his board and members; and National Director General R. C. Schanck; also Chancellor General William J. Askin, upon their arrangements for celebrating here in Pittsburgh this one hundred and fiftieth birthday of our country's Flag. Such an event deserves to be remembered by every American, especially in Pennsylvania, for in this State the Flag was adopted and first made.

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It was on Saturday, the 14th of June, 1777, when the Continental Congress "Resolved, That the Flag of the United Colonies be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, and that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation."


The Birth of Old Glory
Percy Moran, 1917
LOC id: cph.3g02791

It was not until 1889 that a general observance of the birthday of the Flag was advocated, and this step was taken by the Connecticut Society, Sons of the American Revolution. Some years later, on June 14, 1893, the Legislature of Connecticut directed that a United States Flag be supplied each schoolhouse, displayed every school day, and suitable exercises be held on the 14th of June each year. I assume the great and patriotic State of Pennsylvania also has suitable legislation.


Already this is the oldest Republic in the world and it has grown, developed, and expanded so that instead of a small, weak and uncertain new-born nation, it holds a high place among the nations of the world which now turn to it for leadership.


The Flag, though silent, speaks a sublime language to those who know its meaning, for beyond its bright colors they see the Republic for which it stands. The Flag should be an inspiration for personal sacrifice and unselfish service; for defense in war and loyalty in peace. Every human being has an innate love for home and country-no man would desire to be without a country or a flag. The Flag is the symbol of the country's unity, thought, and purpose as a nation.


Our fathers at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill in those dark days of the American Revolution before they possessed a standard flag had a firm faith in the justice of their cause and high hopes that right would prevail. The youthful hero of the American Revolution, Nathan Hale, sacrificed his life without the inspiration of the Stars and Stripes.


The youthful hero of today, Charles Lindbergh, although taking his life in his hands, was permitted to live for his country and carry a message of good will across the ocean as a representative of the Stars and Stripes. It is observed by many that history is taught often from social and economic viewpoints and very little, if any, reference made to the personal deeds and spirit of patriotism manifested by those men who fought for liberty in the American Revolution, the result of which has been said "was the wonder and blessing of the world," nor mention made of the brave men of other wars. In the final analysis, it seems to me, it is the teacher who orients and gives direction to the mind of the young. I feel very strongly on this matter and wish that public opinion could be aroused throughout this broad land of ours to demand that teachers of history should be, themselves, American in thought, word, and deed. Our American institutions must not be allowed to falter, weaken, or fail.

May we in conclusion repeat the American's Creed. I will read and ask you to repeat after me:


"I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.


"I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its Flag; and to defend it against all enemies."

Photos of Modern Flag Day Events Hosted by Pittsburgh Chapter of SAR

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