June 14th is Flag Day, a day to celebrate the adoption of the stars and stripes flag of the United States by the 2nd Continental Congress in 1777. June 14th also is the birthday of the United States Army, which was officially created in 1775. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14th as a day to celebrate the flag in 1916. In 1949, the day was officially established as a holiday by an act of Congress. However, June 14th is not an official federal holiday. Flag Day is celebrated by the flying of the flag across the country as well as other Flag Day celebrations including parades and patriotic concerts. The largest Flag Day parade is in Troy, New York, which has over 50,000 spectators. The oldest continuous Flag Day parade, started in 1910, is in Fairfield, Washington.
Baltimore Flag Day Celebrations
Every summer, Baltimore has many culture and ethnic festivals but there are also many historical festivals and events throughout the summer as well. Baltimore and Washington D.C. are major participants in the history surrounding the flag from the Revolutionary War through the War of 1812. 2014 is the 200th Anniversary of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key in Baltimore Harbor. The Star Spangled Spectacular programs celebrating this bicentennial start in June and run to the actual anniversary in September. (Keep an eye out for a blog further detailing all of the events for the Star Spangled Spectacular in Baltimore later this summer.) In Baltimore, Flag Day will be celebrated at Fort McHenry. The American Flag Federation, U.S. Army Commander In-Chief’s Guard, “Old Guard” Fife & Drum Corps and Continental Color Guard will all be on hand to an afternoon celebrating the anniversary of the Stars and Stripes being adopted as our national flag as well as celebrating the 239th birthday of the United States Army.
Washington D.C. Flag Day Celebrations
The National Museum of American History will be celebrating the bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner with special events all summer. On June 14th, the museum is hosting a coast-to-coast celebration called “Raise It Up! Anthem for America”. The event starts at 2:30 on the steps of the National Museum with a concert of patriotic songs by a 400+ person choir, United States Air Force Band and the Singing Sergeants. The concert is led by composer, Eric Whitacre. A national sing-along of the “Star Spangled Banner” will occur at 4pm. Starting June 14th and running to July 6th, the Maryland Historical Society is lending the Smithsonian Museum of American History the original manuscript of the lyrics to the “Star Spangled Banner”. This historic document will be on display next to the 30x34 flag that Francis Scott Key used as his inspiration for the song. The display will kick off many events that are part of the Star Spangled Spectacular including the Tall Ships Invasion June 18th to 22nd at Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland. The tall ships are replicas of ships that sailed 200 years ago and are part of The War of 1812 bicentennial celebrations. There will also be War of 1812 reenactments, special events and other activities leading up to the Star Spangled Celebration in September. Enjoy all of the great events this Flag Day weekend!