The History of Flag Day

May 30th, 2013

Did you know that the founder of Flag Day was a teacher? During the 1880s, a young school teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin by the name of Bernard J. Cigrand began advocating for a nationwide celebration of the flag.

 In 1885, when he was 19 years old, Cigrand asked his students at the one-room schoolhouse he taught at to write essays on what the American flag meant to them. The following year, Cigrand himself took to the papers, writing in a Chicago newspaper about the need for Flag Day. Though he soon left teaching in order to become a dentist, Cigrand wrote many more articles and gave hundreds of speeches advocating for a holiday to honor the flag.

Cigrand’s lesson activity is still a good one. Have your students read our histories of Flag Day and of the American Flag, and then write their own essays about what the flag means today.

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