Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag Day - June 14, 2012

There are a few variations on the history of Flag Day in the United States. Here is the version that is taught here in Buffalo NY.

Sarah Hinson was born in Buffalo on February 25, 1841, the daughter of Squire and Mrs. George Hinson. Sarah was educated in the Buffalo School System, and at a private finishing school.

She began teaching in Buffalo When she was 23, in 1864, Miss Hinson transferred to School 31 on Emslie Street where she spent nearly fifty years, thirty as a teacher before becoming the school principal.

Ms. Hinson began Flag Day exercises, by teaching the children to salute the Flag and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance, to instill in her pupils a proper respect for the nation's flag. She held the first ceremony in 1891 on June 14 because that was the date, in 1777, that the Continental Congress replaced the British symbols of the Grand Union flag with a new design featuring 13 white stars in a circle on a field of blue and 13 red and white stripes – one for each state.

The following year, other teachers and other schools did the same, and over the years, the idea caught on around the Country.

In 1910, Miss Hinson resigned as principal and was the first woman appointed to the Board of School Examiners, the forerunner to the present Buffalo School Board.

She served on the Board until 1916. She continued to work as a member of the Teacher's Association and as chairman of its Fellowship committee. In this capacity, Miss Hinson would visit teachers, in their homes when there was sickness or death until she died on March 20, 1926 at age of 85.

Her grave at Forest Lawn Buffalo is marked with a flagpole flying the American Flag.

Many people in the United States honor this day by displaying the American flag at homes and public buildings.

President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of the event on June 14, 1916. However, Flag Day did not become official until August 1949, when President Harry Truman signed the legislation and proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day.

The American flag, also nicknamed as “Old Glory” or “star-spangled banner”, has changed designs over the centuries. It consists of 13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars. Each of the 50 stars represent the 50 states in the United States and the 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies that became the first states in the Union.

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