Tuesday, June 21, 2011


   The American national flag has come through an eventful course of changes. The USA flag which we see these days has been effective since July 4, 1960. This was following the inclusion of Hawaii in the United States of America. However, this flag featuring 50 stars on a canton against the background of 13 stripes - 7 red and 6 white - has been evolved through a long course of time.
   American national flag has come through an eventful course of changes. The flag which we see these days has been effective since July 4, 1960. This was following the inclusion of Hawaii in the United States of America. However, this flag featuring 50 stars on a canton against the background of 13 stripes - 7 red and 6 white - has been evolved through a long course of time.

   From June 14, 1777, the day the Stars and Stripes, had received the approval of the Continental Congress till the June 14, 1960, there had been some 27 changes in the face of the flag. Out of these 25 were due to the difference in the number of stars alone. In fact, with each state being annexed to the Union, the number of stars in the flag had to be changed.
   Quite interestingly, the history of observance of the National Flag Day is no less a lengthy process. From June 14, 1877, the day when the Congress observed the centennial of the birth of the national flag, till August 3, 1949, when President Truman designated the National Flag Day. There has been a sustained effort by individuals as well as organizations to promote the observance of the Day.

   Well, the Stars and Stripes came to be regarded as the national flag with the official recognition of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. This was the year following our nation's independence. So, what was there before this Stars and Stripes came to secure its berth as the national flag? Which one was used to really flag off the journey of an independent Union of American States, a year ago? How did it look like?

The Grand Union Flag
   It showed the British Union Flag of 1606, the predecessor of the Union Jack, in the canton. Its field consisted of seven red and six white alternated stripes representing the 13 colonies. The latter officially replaced it on June 14, 1777.

Other earlier versions
   There were some other early versions of the Flag. A very popular one among them was, the first Navy Jack. It had the 13 red-white stripes with a rattlesnake overall, and the motto "Don't Tread on Me."

The 1st national Flag
   Called the Stars and Stripes, this was formally approved by the Continental Congress--on June 14, 1777. The blue canton was to contain 13 stars, but the layout of the stars was left undefined, and several patterns are known.The one designed by the legendary Betsy Ross is said to feature the stars arranged in five rows of either two or three stars.

The Navy adopted its own flag
   Some related designs that followed soon, include the 76 Flag. It was flown at the Battle of Bennington on Aug. 16, 1777.

Hulbert's Stars and Stripes
   Yet another contemporary flag that was cast in the mold of the Stars and Stripes was the one designed by John Hulbert, a magistrate. It's stripes were the same but the canton featured a diamond-shaped field of 13 stars was.

The Stars and Stripes - 1795 version
   Stars and Stripes remained unchanged until May 1, 1795, when two more stars and two more stripes were added to reflect the admission to the union of Vermont (1791) and Kentucky (1792). It was this flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the "Star Spangled Banner".

Stars & Stripes - 1818 version
   In 1818, with five more states being admitted, the Congress enacted legislation. This stated that henceforth the stripes should remain 13, whereas the number of stars should always match the number of states. It was also decided that any new star should be added on the July 4 following a state's admission. This has been the system ever since.

The 1863 version
   On May 1, 1863, a new national flag, the Stainless Banner was adopted. However, the design did not last long.

The 1865 version
   But a still short lived was a modification of the Stainless Banner. It was adopted, rather futilely, about a month before the end of the war in April 1865.

Stars and Stripes - standardized version
   Since then every time a new state was annexed, the size of the canton, as well as the stripes got altered, so as to accommodate the increased number of stars. It took to Oct. 29, 1912, when an executive order standardized the proportions and relative sizes of the elements of the flag.
   However, the exact shades of color of the elements were yet to be standardized. And it took till 1934 to standardize this.
   The national flag which we see these days has been effective since July 4, 1960. This was following the inclusion of Hawaii in the United States of America. However, this flag featuring 50 stars on a canton against the background of 13 stripes - 7 red and 6 white - has been evolved through a long period of eventful years.

   Though the Flag Day was first celebrated in 1877, with the centennial of the U.S. flag's existence, the idea of making it a public celebration is believed to have originated in 1885.
   In course of time a number of individuals and organizations advocated the adoption of a national day of commemoration for the U.S. Flag. However, B.J. Cigrand, a teacher from the Wisconsin Public School, District 6, is believed to be a forerunner of the thought. He organized the pupils in the Fredonia, to observe June 14 as 'Flag Birthday'. It was the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes, the first national flag of the United States. It was a bid to inspire and educate the school children with spirit of the Flag as well as love for the nation. And it was not a single shot bid. Cigrand continued to advocate the need for its observance in the following years through numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses. But the celebration was yet to take off in a well defined style and in a wider scale.

   On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.
   Inspired by Colonel J Granville Leach, a historian, the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America adopted a resolution on April 25, 1893. The resolution requested the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day'. It was also recommended that on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

   As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.
   In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. Meanwhile, with BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the driving force, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, came into being. Its purpose was to promote the holding of Flag Day exercises. And thanks to its initiative, on June 14th, 1894, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held. More than 300,000 children participated in the programs held various parks across Chicago. Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs in different parts of the country. And the celebration registered increasing popularity as more and more localities and states over the next three decades.

   The Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson established it officially on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years following Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, the 14th of June was designated by President Harry Truman as National Flag Day to be celebrated each year across the nation.


History of Father's Day

   It would be interesting to know how Father's Day came into practice and celebrated worldwide with an equal sincerity and respect as any other significant holidays. Here's a short history on the holiday, and meaning of the different colors of roses to be worn that Day. You may even refer the page to others to share the information by clicking on the link given below.
    About 4,000 years ago a young boy named Elmusu wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life by carving a Father's Day message on a card made out of clay. No one knows what happened to Elmesu or his father, but the tradition of having a special day honoring fathers has continued through the years in countries across the world.

    The Countries, where the Catholic Church were of significant influence on the culture of the society, Father's Day is celebrated on St. Joseph's Day (March 19). However, a more secular celebration which is not associated with any religion is followed in recent times to highlight the increased diversity among people from all over the globe coexisting together in one place.
    Father's Day is celebrated popularly on 3rd Sunday in June in many parts of the world. The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, Henry Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.

    In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. President Nixon, in 1972, established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So Father's Day was born as a token of love and gratitude that a daughter cherishes for her beloved father. Roses are the Father's Day flowers: red to be worn for a living father and white if the father has died.

Celebrations Around the World

    Surprisingly, the dates of the celebration of Father's Day are not the same everywhere. The customs and traditions differ from one country to another. With the earliest record of Father's Day found in the ruins of Babylon, one can easily understand the fact that Father Day has been celebrated for centuries. The Countries, where the Catholic Church were of significant influence on the culture and society, Father's Day is celebrated on St. Joseph's Day (March 19). However, a more secular celebration which is not associated with any religion is followed in recent times to reflect the increased diversity of the people who live there. There are times when the Dads get a little lucky and enjoy Father's Day goodies more than once every year!

   Indulging the sweet daddies with breakfast in bed; gifting out cards, flowers, chocolates ,neckties, shirts, electronic gadgets, stationery items; games and various other activities, get-togethers mark Father's Day to strengthen the bond between a father and child and are the traditional way of celebrating Father's Day not only in U.S. but also, all over the world in the recent times.
   Father's Day is celebrated with enthusiasm and gifts galore to reflect on the invaluable role and contribution of fathers in the family. People honor their father and express gratitude for his love and affection on Father's Day . As a Father's Day tradition, people in US and Canada, along with their Dads, pay tribute to grandfather, stepfather, foster father, uncle or men who plays the Father figure role in their lives. The tradition of

celebrating Fathers Day in Canada has been influenced from US. People in Canada too wear roses to express gratitude and love for their father as their US counterparts. The event is popularly observed as a time for family reunion as well, with children staying away from families coming together to celebrate the day with their fathers and other loved ones; Paying tribute by giving out donations in the name of their fathers or by performing acts of service; Dining out. Business in restaurants and eating joints witness a huge rush on the occasion.
    Several clubs, schools and cultural societies in United Kingdom and Ireland, Australia, South Africa organize Fathers Day parties and get-togethers and provide people an opportunity to celebrate the day in a wide scale to stress the importance of Father's role in the development of the family and the society as a whole. The effort to spread a sense of responsibility and devotion to fathers are also made besides, children who in turn are encouraged to pay full attention and respect to their father.

   The occasion in Australia is celebrated privately in households. Breakfast meeting for families is also a common affair of Father Day celebrations in Australia.
   Many in South Africa go out for picnic, fishing or just for a meal in restaurant.
   Celebrating Father's Day is a new concept in India and highly influenced by the U.S. celebrations. It is perhaps not even a decade old. The idea of honoring fathers has been appreciated by Indians as well to a large extent like all other countries. The event is marked by expressing gratitude for fathers. Father's Day celebration in India takes place in the same way as in UK or US though in a limited way. Awareness about Fathers Day festival is much greater in metropolitan cities and bigger towns due to the greater exposure of people to the western cultures and is fast catching up with people in smaller towns and cities of India as well. The idea is to instill noble values and principles in children to pay due respect to the elders especially dads and understand the importance of a family.

   However, the popularity of Fathers Day has also led to an extensive commercialization of the event. According to critics the rigorous marketing campaign has spoiled the noble idea of honoring fathers on Father's Day as many observe the day by performing the mere formality of presenting gifts to dad. Others, on the other hand see the positive side of commercialization and consider that it has helped to spread awareness and the significance about the day for children to honor their fathers.
   Here's wishing all the wonderful fathers out there a perfect Father's Day. May you be blessed with a life of contentment, peace and happiness forever. For our life wouldn't have a purpose to strive and excel without their support and secure guidance.

Father's Day Presidential Proclamation

   Father's Day is a day of commemoration and celebration of Dad. As the American President, Lyndon Johnson officially announced and signed in 1966 the first ever presidential proclamation honoring fathers, declaring Father's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the third Sunday of June. This was to be the first ever presidential proclamation on Father's Day which was made permanent by President Richard Nixon in 1972. The tradition of giving a Father's Day Proclamation continues to this day with each President of the United States doing so every year. Here we have brought for you a series of Father's Day proclamations from the year 2000 to the year last. Read these heartwarming Father's Day proclamations by American Presidents.