Grandpa Stanley's Flag Day
Through A Child's Eyes a Gift is Seen
Family Rituals of Love
On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York, planned a celebration of the American flag for his students. It was made an official holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, today known as Flag Day!
Many years since 1916 starting as a little girl I imprinted heart filled memories of watching my Grandfather Stanley on 89 Brownell Street, in Buffalo New York proudly display our family flag each and every Flag Day! My brother and I were in awe as we watched him so very gently unroll the flag inserting into the pole holder on our front porch as he explained to us, “How a flag must never touch the ground”. Grandpa Stanley’s smile said it all as he would look over to us when his ritual was complete….”He was Proud to be an American”.
I wonder how many little children of today’s world experience the awe of Flag Day as my brother and I did so many years ago? The quiet hush followed by goose bumps as we watched the flag taking its place of honor each patriotic holiday with Grandma Jenny quietly standing inside the front porch window watching without motion as her husband performed the family task of displaying the flag.
Our foundation of being “Proud to be American” was being established at that early age without us even realizing it was happening. We took those memories forward into our adult lives with each of us owning a flag pole to display a single piece of cloth in the colors of red, white and blue that states, “We are Proud to be Americans too”.
Today my heart is thankful that I have had the honor to grow up in a less than perfect world where Freedom still reigns along with the memories of my Grandfather Stanley and his flag ritual every patriotic holiday. Looking back in time I have come to realize that to some passer buyers in my life’s journey gifts that seemed meager or meaningless were actually family rituals packaged and wrapped-up presented to me that became priceless as I grew an adulthood entered my life. These gifts became the family values that seeded their way into my heart and blossomed for me to share with others along my journey.
Little did Grandpa Stanley know at the time that his ritual every Flag Day would become a rare gift in this huge world that keeps on giving as it is played forward each and every year?
Thank you Grandpa, love Priscilla!
Although Betsy Ross did apparently embroider George Washington's ruffles, there is no historical evidence that Ross sewed the first American flag, a claim that was made by her grandson in 1870.
During World War II, saluting the flag was deemed to be too similar to Hitler's Nazi salute, so Americans began holding their hands over their hearts singing the National Anthem, a tradition that still holds today.
After Hawaii and Alaska were inducted into the Union in 1958, Congress had to create a new flag. It chose a design by Robert Heft, a 17-year-old student who originally created the design for a high school project.
One of the many rules outlined in the extensive Flag Code states that the American flag cannot be used on anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Using a a stars and striped napkin would then be considered flag abuse.
Is it illegal to purchase flags manufactured outside the United States? Currently, China exports almost $3 million worth of United States flags every year. Although proposed legislation would prohibit importing for sale foreign-made flags, the bill is not expected to pass.