My grandmother was a large Norwegian woman. Intertwined with the many memories I have of this rather quiet but very stoic lady is a very strong visual memory. She always wore a tiny rhinestone American flag pin on her lapel.
A child of Norwegian immigrants, she was born in New York City in the late 1800's. Prior to her birth, her parents lived on a tugboat in Brooklyn. Her father was the captain of this fateful sea vessel.
It's rumored that his boat guided the granite from Stoney Creek to the base of the Statue of Liberty. Perhaps this was one of the reasons she beamed with such American pride.
Flag Day is June 14th. It's believed that the idea for the annual celebration began in 1885. A teacher in Wisconsin arranged for pupils to observe June 14th as "Flag Birthday". Other teachers and civic leaders recognized the flag on June 14th in following years but Flag Day was not officially established until President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation in 1916. President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of every year as "National Flag Day".
The Pledge of Allegiance was added to the US Flag Code in 1942. Written by Francis Bellamy (a Baptist minister and writer), it was first recited in October of 1892 at the 400th year anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America.
Did you know that the Pledge of Allegiance is only to be read or recited in the presence of the flag. The Flag Code also specifies appropriate behavior during the recital of the Pledge. It's unfortunate that so many Americans simply ignore this code of conduct while reciting the Pledge or singing the National Anthem. For more on the evolution of the Pledge of Allegiance go to
If you proudly display the American flag (and I sincerely hope you do), please follow the Flag Code. You should also know how to properly dispose of your American flag when it's torn or faded. You should always attempt to repair your flag; disposal should be your final option. The Flag Code specifies that "A United States flag must be disposed of in a dignified manner; preferably by burning." American Legion Post 79 in Madison will properly dispose of the flag for you. Leave your flag in the box located on the porch at 43 Bradley Road. For more information about the process call 245-9955.
In my quest to replace my pleated flag banners, I located Annin Flagmakers, America's oldest flag manufacturer. It seems only appropriate that American flags are made in the USA, doesn't it? Annin claims that one of their flags draped the coffin of President Lincoln on it's journey from Washington D.C to Springfield, Illinois. The United States Marines raised an Annin flag on Iwo Jima in 1945. An Annin flag participated in Apollo 11's 1969 mission to the moon.
For a list of retailers carrying Annin American flags go to
So on this Flag Day, I'd like you to remember your immigrant family members that came to this wonderful country of ours in search of freedom, as well as our American forefathers and think "What does the American flag mean to me?" I think this would make wonderful dinner conversation with your children!
There are numerous interesting facts about our American flag. Visit the following websites for more information:http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagetiq.html#display