Wilton Post 86 celebrated Flag Day at the Veterans Memorial Green in Wilton Center on Sunday, June 14.

In addition to veterans with Post 86, those attending included Boy Scouts from Troop 125, officers from the Wilton Police Department, State Sen. Will Haskell State Rep. Gail Lavielle, Selectwoman Deb McFadden and members of the community.

The National Anthem was played, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by the Scouts, and Post 86 Commander Bill Glass made a short speech.

Flag Day honors “Old Glory,” the American flag.

Old Glory’s history

In honor of Flag Day, the Wilton Historical Society recounted its humble begnnings:

The country’s first flag, called the “Grand Union,” made its debut when it was flown at the headquarters of the Continental Army on Jan. 1, 1776. However, it was not adopted as the country’s national symbol until Saturday, June 14, 1777.

The entry in the journal on that date of the Continental Congress 1774-1789, Vol. VIII, 1777 reads, “Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

According to The Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, the first national observance of Flag Day was on June 14, 1877; 100 years after the flag resolution was adopted by the Continental Congress.

In the late 19th century, schoolteachers all over the United States began conducting patriotic ceremonies commemorating Flag Day as a way to teach children about history. One such schoolteacher, Bernard J. Cigrand, is often referred to as the “Father of Flag Day.” He lobbied Congress for many years for Flag Day to be officially observed.

Other patriotic groups, including the Colonial Dames and the Sons of the American Revolution, also spent years trying to convince Congress to make Flag Day official. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation stating that June 14 shall be National Flag Day, and in 1949, it was made official by an Act of Congress.

Over time the design of the flag evolved, and the design we know today was not standardized until 1912.

An American flag from 1870 with 45 stars is part of the permanent collection of the Wilton Historical Society.

pgay@wiltonbulletin.com