Pennsylvania only state to recognize Flag Day as legal holiday

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States.

Flag Day, observed annually on June 14, is a day that commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. Many people celebrate Flag Day by displaying the American flag in front of their homes, going to parades, and participating in other patriotic celebrations across the country.

Flag Day is not considered a federal holiday in the US, but some people online (here and here) claim that Pennsylvania is the only state in the country to recognize Flag Day as a public holiday.

THE QUESTION

Is Pennsylvania the only US state that recognizes Flag Day as a public holiday?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, Pennsylvania is the only US state that recognizes Flag Day as a public holiday.

WHAT WE FOUND

Pennsylvania is the only state to recognize Flag Day as a public holiday in the United States, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and a blog post published on the US Army website.

Flag Day commemorates the introduction of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. According to legend, in 1776 George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross commissioned the seamstress Betsy Ross of Philadelphia to design a flag for the new nation in anticipation of a declaration of independence.

During the private meeting, which Betsy Ross House says took place in Ross’ drawing room, Washington reportedly showed Ross a sketch of a flag with 13 red and white stripes and 13 six-pointed stars. The next year, on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed a resolution authorizing the design of a national flag:

“That the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen alternating red and white stripes, with a union of thirteen white stars in a blue field, representing the new constellation.”

According to the VA, the uniform observance of the flag transfer did not happen overnight. Some cities, including New York, Philadelphia, and Hartford, Connecticut, celebrated their own versions of Flag Day before it became national.

In 1893, according to the VA, the Society of Colonial Dames, an organization that promotes its national heritage through the preservation of historic buildings, passed a resolution that the American flag should be displayed on all Philadelphia public buildings. The President of the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, who was a direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin, also tried to get the city to give up the 14 time.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national flag day on June 14. Almost 21 years later, Pennsylvania became the first U.S. state to establish Flag Day as a public holiday on May 7, 1937, according to the VA. On August 3, 1949, Congress authorized national observance of Flag Day on June 14, which was signed into law by President Harry Truman.

But Pennsylvania remains the only state to honor Flag Day as a public holiday. Many state government buildings are closed on June 14th. Other states, however, have robust Flag Day celebrations. For example, Appleton, Wisconsin hosts the country’s oldest Flag Day parade each year.

According to the Library of Congress, there have been 27 official versions of the flag to date. Additional stars have been added as states joined the Union. The current version dates from July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state.

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Alley Einstein

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