In recognition of President Woodrow Wilson’s establishment of Flag Day in 1916, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum will hand out American flags free to guests on Flag Day, Saturday, June 14.
President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day with a Proclamation in 1916 and communities across the nation began celebrating Flag Day that year. Wilson’s Proclamation began “I, therefore, suggest and request that throughout the nation, and if possible in every community, the 14th day of June be observed as Flag Day with special patriotic exercises, at which means shall be taken to give significant expression to our thoughtful love of America, our comprehension of the great mission of liberty and justice to which we have devoted ourselves as a people, our pride in the history and our enthusiasm for the political program of the nation, our determination to make it greater and purer with each generation, and our resolution to demonstrate to all the world its vital union in sentiment and purpose, accepting only those as true compatriots who feel as we do the compulsion of this supreme allegiance.”
President Wilson also gave two other major speeches about Flag Day. On June 14, 1915, he gave an address honoring the flag. The next year, he gave a Flag Day address describing the proclamation and urging Americans to honor the flag. That day, he led the Flag Day parade in Washington. In addition to the proclamation, excerpts from these two speeches are attached.
The idea for Flag Day originated in 1885, when a Wisconsin public school teacher decided that his students should celebrate June 14 as “Flag Birthday.” That day marked the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes in 1777. In 1949, 33 years after President Wilson’s proclamation, President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress officially designating June 14th of each Those interested in more information about Flag Day or visiting the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum should contact the Presidential Library at (540) 885-0897, ext. 100.