On June 14, Americans across the nation see the Stars and Stripes flying across the blue sky, as the United States celebrates the birthday of its flag. President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress in 1949, designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day. Encourage your group to join in a salute to Old Glory and to reflect on the meaning of a cherished national symbol. Here are some simple activities for the event.
- Display an American flag and photographs of an American flag against a blue sky. Ask: What are nicknames for the American flag (e.g., Old Glory, Stars and Stripes, Star-Spangled Banner)? What does the flag symbolize to you? How do you feel when you see the American flag?
- Ask for a volunteer to share a short history of the American flag. Discuss the significance of the flag’s colors – red, white, and blue. Challenge your group to a trivia quiz on the American Revolution.
- Read the U.S. President’s Proclamation on Flag Day and National Flag Week.
- Ask participants to stand, place hand over heart, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Share memories of school-day activities related to the flag – flag raising each day, school prayer, and the pledge before classes.
- Reminisce about flying the American flag at your home. Ask: Did your family own an American flag? Where did you display it? Did you fly the flag outside your home on patriotic holidays? Tell us about some historic events in which the American flag was present – e.g., inauguration of a new president, landing on the moon, World War II hometown parade.
- Invite a local Boy Scout troop for a flag-raising ceremony and a discussion of flag etiquette.
- Perform some light-hearted skits related to Flag Day.
- Sing the song “You’re a Grand Old Flag” by George M. Cohan. Wave small flags. Ask participants what they like best about living in America.
- Assemble a flag cake – sheet cake, whipped topping, strawberries, and blueberries.
- Plan a Colonial Flag Day Party for June 14. Ready the history of Flag Day, don a Betsy Ross costume, and sing patriotic songs.
- Read some patriotic poems and stories from A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love, Selected and Introduced by Caroline Kennedy, Hyperion, 2003.
- Craft a flag using torn paper art – red, white, and blue paper and glue.
- Watch a patriotic movie, like the 1942 musical Yankee Doodle Dandy, starring James Cagney. Enjoy the songs “Over There” and “Grand Old Flag.”
- Wear a flag pin on your collar.
- March in place as you listen to a recording of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” composed by John Philip Sousa. (Read the lyrics to the official march of the United States.) Ask: Where have you heard this tune? What other songs make you think of the flag? Name some of your favorite patriotic songs.
FLAG DAY TRIVIA QUIZ
- Who sewed the first official American flag? Betsy Ross
- What do the 13 red and white stripes on the flag stand for? Original 13 colonies
- How many stars are on the current U.S. flag? 50 stars, one for each state
- Wame the last two states to join the Union. Alaska and Hawaii (1959)
- Who wrote the words to our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” in 1814? Francis Scott Key
- What two-word phrase was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954? “Under God”
- When was the U.S. Declaration of Independence adopted by the Continental Congress?July 4, 1776
- When is the U.S. flag flown at half mast? During times of national mourning
- Who composed “Stars and Stripes Forever,” the official march of the U.S.? John Philip Sousa
- According to military custom, when not in use, U.S. flags should be folded into what shape? Triangle
“FLAG DAY CELEBRATION” written by Sue Hansen. © 2010 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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