“It’s a Grand Old Flag and may it proudly wave.”
The colors on the flag represent:
• Red for valor and bravery,
• White for purity and innocence, and
• Blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice
February 12 – Lincoln’s Birthday
February 16 – President’s Day (Federal Observation)
February 22 – Washington’s Birthday
April 6 – Grand Army Day
The Grand Army of the Republic was founded by Benjamin F. Stephenson, M.D., on April 6, 1866, in Decatur, Illinois. There were posts in every state in the U.S., and several posts overseas. Membership consisted of veterans from the Civil War who gathered together for camaraderie and also actively agitated for pension legislation, establishment of retirement homes for soldiers, and many other areas which concerned Union veterans. The influence of the G.A.R. in the creation of the system of Old Soldier Homes across the country eventually evolved into the modern day Department of Veterans Affairs
Third Monday in April – Patriot’s Day
(Not to be confused with Patriot Day on September 11) The third Monday in April is set aside to observe the anniversary of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. Traditionally it was designated as April 19 in observance of the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Since 1969, however, the holiday has been observed on the third Monday in April, providing a three-day long weekend. It is also a school holiday for many local colleges and universities, both public and private.
May 1 – Loyalty Day
A special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.
Third Saturday in May - Armed Forces Day
The first Armed Forces Day was created in 1949 and was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions and air shows. Armed Forces Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May, and Armed Forces Week begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May. Because of their unique training schedules, The purpose of Armed Forces day is to honor Americans currently serving in the five services - the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
Memorial Day (Federal Observation) Last Monday in May; & May 30 – True Memorial Day (Decoration Day)
In 1868, General Order #11 of the G.A.R. called for May 30 to be designated as a day of memorial for Union veterans, originally called "Decoration Day” It originally honored the men who died serving in the American Civil War, but has become a day on which the men and women of all wars, who gave their lives while serving in our nation’s military, are remembered in special programs held in cemeteries, churches, and other public meeting places. It is tradition to mark the day by flying the national flag at half staff until noon (http://www1.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp).
June 14 – Flag Day
In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.
Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
June– Flag Week
In 1966 Congress designated the week in which June 14 occurs as National Flag Week, and encourages Americans to display the flag outside their homes and businesses. Although Flag Day is not celebrated as a federal holiday, Americans everywhere continue to honor the history and heritage it represents.
July 4 – Independence Day
This federal holiday honors the nation's birthday - the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It is a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks.
September 11 – Patriot Day
This day is designated in memory of the nearly three thousand who died in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Most Americans refer to the day as "Nine-Eleven”. On December 18, 2001 President Bush signed into law a bill that made September 11 a national holiday. September 4, 2002, President Bush proclaimed September 11, 2002, as Patriot Day. On this day, the President directs that the American flag be flown at half-staff and displayed from individual American homes, at the White House, and on all U.S. government buildings and establishments, home and abroad. The President also asks Americans to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 A.M. (Eastern Daylight Time), the time of the first plane crash on September 11, 2001.
September 17 – Citizenship or Constitution Day
People across the country will honor the Constitution on September 17, Constitution Day. The day officially honors the ratification of the United States Constitution, which was signed into law on September 17, 1787. This day is also called Citizenship Day. This is one of the newest federal holidays to be established by Congress, as it was passed in just 2004. Citizenship Day was the name given to the holiday prior to its official designation.
October 12 – Columbus Day
This federal holiday celebrated on the second Monday in October. The day commemorates October 12, 1492, when Italian navigator Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. The holiday was first proclaimed in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
November 11 – Veterans Day
Originally called Armistice Day, this federal holiday was established to honor Americans who had served in World War I, but it now honors veterans of all wars in which the U.S. has fought. Veterans' organizations hold parades and ceremonies in communities around the country.
December 7 – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
In 1994, Congress designated this national observance to honor the more than 2,400 military service personnel who died on this date in 1941, during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by Japanese forces. The attack on Pearl Harbor caused the United States to enter World War II.
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