Are You a Vexillologist?

By Mary Nicholson

Are you a Vexillologist?  No, it’s not a new kind of extreme diet.  You could be one without even knowing it.  Here’s a clue:  June 14.  Still not sure?  Well, a vexillologist is one who likes to study flags, and June 14 is officially Flag Day.  And for that, we have to be thankful. In 1885, he was a 19 year old teacher at Stony Hill school in Fredonia, Wisconsin and on June 14th of that year, he placed a 10 inch, 38-star flag in a bottle on his desk. The date commemorated the adoption by Congress of the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States in 1777. He then assigned his students to write essays on the flag and its significance. Cigrand spent much time and effort to bring about national observance of Flag Day.  Many years later, his efforts were recognized when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation on May 30, 1916, calling for a nationwide observance of Flag Day.  In 1949, President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress which designated the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day.  More recently, on June 14th 2004, Congress voted unanimously on HR 662 that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin.

While I was growing up, every day was Flag Day at our house.  I remember when we moved into that house, my dad had a small concrete footing poured for a permanent flag pole right out front.  It was probably 15 or 20 feet tall, and my dad faithfully raised the flag every morning when he went out to get the morning paper. Every evening he would lower the flag, solemnly fold it in a tight triangle, and place it on the hallway table, ready for the next morning.  I don’t remember seeing him salute during this ritual, and he never, ever asked any of us kids to take part; this was his alone.  He was a WWII Army veteran, and he lost his kid brother in one of the Pacific Theater battles.  In retrospect, I now see how special and important this ritual was to him.

Flag Day is still celebrated in various ways – parades, picnics, ceremonies, etc.  If you feel like celebrating Old Glory, here’s a quick, fun idea that the kids can even help with:  Fruit, Cheese & Herb Skewers; just choose raspberries or strawberries for the red, and blueberries for the blue.  And just for fun, why not play Red’s White and Blue March.  Yes, it was written by that lovable comedian, Red Skelton, many years ago.  If that doesn’t make you want to get up and march around the house/yard/desk, I don’t know what will!

One Response

  1. That’s a great memory about your dad Mary.

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