All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy Flag Day! Did you know the observance began in Wisconsin?

Today is Flag Day, a day that commemorates the Continental Congress' adoption 235 years ago,  on June 14, 1777, "that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field [canton], representing a new constellation."

Since that time, the configuration of stars in the canton of the American flag has changed many times, as each new state, represented by a star, was added.  Outside of a brief flirtation with the idea of adding an additional stripe for new states Vermont and Kentucky in 1795, that trend was discarded in 1818, when 5 more states were added: Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, and Mississippi.  The stripe count returned to 13  thereafter, representing the original 13 colonies or states.

Now for the Wisconsin connection...

On June 14, 1885, "a 19 year old, $40 a month school-teacher, stirred by a deep love of the American Flag, held the first Flag Day exercises in a little country schoolhouse located near Fredonia [Wisconsin]." The schoolteacher, Bernard Cigrand, "began a lifelong crusade" on that day to honor the adoption of our our flag back in 1777.  

The schoolteacher's quest was fulfilled when President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14th as National Flag Day in 1916. Later President Harry Truman signed a bill in 1949 "requesting the President call for Flag Day observance each year by proclamation".

That one room school was none other than Stony Hill Schoolhouse, 5595 Hwy I, in Ozaukee County. The school building has been restored and is open to school groups by appointment from May - mid June and from Labor Day - mid October. (Call 262.377.4510 for more information.)

The general public may visit the school house (exterior) on any day, but this weekend might be a good time as the Ozaukee County Pioneer Village, 4880 County Hwy I - Saukville is holding FREE ADMISSION DAYS from noon to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, June 16th & 17th, 2012. All 24 historic buildings/structures are open, there will be Heritage Demonstrations, and an Ice Cream Social too. Pioneer Village is just a few miles south of Stony Hill Schoolhouse.

Incidentally, Wisconsin joined the Union in 1848 as the 30th state. I would love to have one of those flags, with its 5 x 6 star arrangement, because any American flag, regardless of the number of stars or star arrangements in the canton, may be flown--they never have an expiration date! 

So fly that flag proudly today and everyday, and Happy Flag Day!

"History of our Flag" by Heather O'Dell

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