On June 14th, 1777 our flag was adopted by the Second Continental Congress. June 14th was officially established as Flag Day in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. I didn’t know these facts off the top of my head; I learned it this week at school. Specifically, I learned it from the students of St. Thomas the Apostle at their wonderful annual Flag Day celebration.
Here, Dennis and Mary Farley help the students rehearse the unfurling of the flag.
Each of the students and guests received an American flag, courtesy of American Legion Post 118. Here, some of the students of St. Thomas the Apostle show off the flags they are distributing.
This is the 3rd year in a row that we've covered this celebration -- click here for 2011; click here for 2012.
Over a hundred children marched through the cafeteria of St. Thomas, waving flags and wearing handmade red, white and blue paper top hats. They recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sang the National Anthem, read poems about the flag and sang “Proud to be an American.”
Principal Cathleen Quinn described their Flag Day ceremonies as one of their very special days of the year because it begins the development of patriotism in their youngest students and continues through the time when they finish 8th Grade. In fact, it was noted that many of the students that participated as toddlers in St. Thomas’ first Flag Day celebration were set to graduate as part of the Class of 2013 that very night. Here is some video from the 2013 Flag Day Celebration:
Ms. Quinn noted the diversity amongst the students and paid tribute to how the flag unites us all. “Look at all the countries that we represent,” she told the students. “Think of the places that your parents came from, or your grandparents. And look at everybody here today. We all look like Americans.”
Sgt. Major Valentin of American Legion Post 118 noted that June 14th is also the date that the United States Army was formed in 1775. He taught the children that the flag has two other names: those in the Army call it “The Colors,” because the bright red, white and blue contrasts with the darker colors typically worn in the Army. And he explained to the students that the name “Stars and Stripes” refers to the 50 stars representing all of the states and the stripes representing the thirteen original colonies that declared independence from England.
Year after year, the students of St. Thomas learn poems and songs and make patriotic hats. We offer thanks to the teachers of St. Thomas and American Legion Post 118 for keeping this wonderful tradition alive for the students. It is becoming increasingly important to focus on what unites them, particularly nowadays when all of the kids in our schools have different cultures, backgrounds and religions.
Principal Quinn put it simply to the students: “Look around you. This is what America looks like.”
The great thing about these updates from year to year is that in about 5 more years we'll be able to go back and look for faces of the youngest patriots and show them at these celebrations over the years.
This year's celebration was indoors because of the weather. It would be nice if we could get some residents to come and watch -- it's a really nice ceremony.
We've heard complaints from residents about the lack of American Flags on display around the neighborhood on Flag Day. St. Thomas is doing their part to instill pride on our flag.
Putting the Flag away for next year's celebration.
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Photos by Joey Wendell