June 14th is Flag Day, the day Americans celebrate the adoption of the iconic Stars and Stripes. National Flag Day was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and established by an Act of Congress in 1949. It’s not an official federal holiday, but it’s certainly a great excuse to watch a parade.
The first United States flag was adopted in 1777 and underwent 26 design changes as more states joined the union. The last modification was made in 1960 to add a star for Hawaii and has remained unchanged since then.
Here are some of places in the nation where you can still find a patch of sidewalk and wave the Stars and Stripes on Flag Day.
Appleton – Wisconsin
The city of Appleton claims to have the oldest flag day in the country and goes all-out with bands, floats and lots of civic pride.
Fairfield – Washington
The tiny town of Fairfield also lays claim to having the oldest Flag Day parade in America and its citizens have been marching through the streets on or around June 14th since 1910.
The nation’s capital is, not surprisingly, drowning in a sea of Stars and Stripes on Flag Day. By coincidence, Flag Day also happens to be President Trump’s birthday which makes celebrations in Washington DC all the more elaborate.
Quincy – Massachusetts
For over sixty years, Flag Day has held a special place in the hearts of Quincy’s residents. The town pays tribute to Old Glory with a huge celebration at Pageant Field following the mile-long parade.
Three-Oaks – Michigan
This village in the southwest corner of Michigan stretches Flag Day over an entire weekend with a fun run, a tribute to the country’s military, and lots of live entertainment.
La Mesa – California
Just to show that Flag Day is alive and well on the west coast, La Mesa gives away free ice cream after their parade and holds pre-parade concerts along the La Mesa Boulevard route.
Flag Day parades have always been much more prominent on the east coast than the west, but even in New England they have been dwindling in popularity over the past ten years. The city of Troy in New York used to attract up to 40,000 spectators to the parade that marched through the center of town, but its fiftieth parade in 2017 was also its last. Rising costs, security concerns and a renewed focus on Memorial Day parades have made Flag Day parades much harder to find.
That doesn’t mean, however, that America’s pride in Old Glory is fading. There are now more flags flying outside of American homes and businesses than ever before, and this June 14th will continue to be a special day on which citizen’s honor one of America’s most enduring symbols. If you’re lucky enough to be living in a community that still takes to the streets to wave the flag, enjoy the party and make the most of what may be quickly becoming a parade for the history books.