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Flag Day honored by firefighters with ceremony

Crews hoist huge American flag on Fire Union Hall Friday

Flag Day ceremony
Flag Day ceremony

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Firefighters in Jacksonville honored Flag Day on Friday with a ceremony at the Union hall fire training building.

Part of the celebration of the Stars and Stripes included hoisting a giant American flag along the side of the five-story Union Hall on Stockton Street just off Interstate 10.

A color guard ceremony marked the patriotic event as the flag was hoisted. If you don't have a flag flying this Flag Day, maybe these six facts about the holiday will entice you to celebrate Old Glory. 

1. Flag Day was invented by a teacher.

Nineteen-year-old Bernard J. CiGrand walked into his one-room schoolhouse in Wisconsin in 1885, stuck a 10-inch flag in an inkwell, and asked his students to write an essay on its meaning. CiGrand spent the next 50-ish years writing in support of making Flag Day a national holiday.

He died of a heart attack 17 years before Congress sealed the deal in 1949. However, parts of the U.S. celebrated Flag Day prior to Congress making it an official holiday. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson recognized Flag Day in a statement.

2. The Flag Day inventor was destined for greatness.

Bernard’s parents were from Luxembourg, a tiny European country between France, Germany and Belgium. The name “CiGrand” comes from a variation of the French for “so grand.” It only makes sense that he would be the one to champion our “Grand Ol’ Flag!”

3. Flag Day is the birthday of our Stars and Stripes.

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 because that was the day Congress officially recognized it as the flag of the United States in 1777. Apparently, it wasn’t such a big deal at the time — the flag discussion was the fifth order of business that day. It begs the question, what was so important about the first four items?

4. It’s not just the flag’s birthday.

June 14, 1775, is the date that Congress formally authorized the enlistment of soldiers into what was then called the Continental Army.

5. Flag Day is not a federal holiday.

It’s a national holiday, but you won’t get the day off work unless you live in Pennsylvania, which recognizes it as a legal state holiday. It seems fitting that Pennsylvania would be the only state to do so since that’s where the flag was born.

6. The National Flag Day Foundation spreads Flag Day awareness.

The foundation teams up with local groups like 4-H and VFW Scouts to spread the good word about the holiday and to keep the tradition going. They hope to have a flag in every classroom, cultivate respect for this symbol of our country, and teach the history behind the flag.