Tomorrow, June 14, is Flag Day.
The day commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777, as the official Flag of the U.S.
June 14th was picked as Flag Day by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, a decision that was ratified by the U.S. Congress in 1949.
The Congress must have been very busy in the interim since it took them 33 years to get around to making Flag Day official.
Flags evoke strong feelings. If you took a poll of Americans of which product should never be imported, Old Glory would win hands down. So it is not difficult to understand the actions of officials in Michigan. There legislation is about to be adopted that makes it mandatory that all flags that will be flown at state facilities are made by members of our extended American family.
Legislation is also in place regarding the use of American products by different levels of government and by the U.S. military. But when it comes to consumer goods, we don’t have any requirements to “Buy American” and I for one think such an approach would be misguided. We should buy American made products because we want to, not because we have to.
36 USC 110 is the Federal statute establishing June 14th as Flag Day; however, it is at the President’s discretion to officially proclaim the observance of Flag Day in any given year. As you might imagine, the President generally exercises his discretion and proclaims the observance of Flag Day. I would call on you to exercise your discretion on Flag Day and every other day of the year to purchase flags, socks, shoes, cars, appliances, barbeques, furniture and every other consumer good made by members of our extended American family. It is the right thing to do to reduce unemployment, strengthen our nation and get well made products in the bargain.
My favorite Flag Day story involves Teddy Roosevelt. On June 14, 1908, Teddy was having a meal al fresco when he noticed a man wiping his nose with what Teddy thought was the American Flag. Roosevelt became so angry that he picked up a small wooden rod and began to whip the man for “defacing the symbol of America.” After a few whacks, Teddy noticed that the man was not wiping his nose with a flag, but with a blue handkerchief with white stars. Upon realizing his mistake, Teddy apologized to the man and then hit him one more time for making him “riled up with national pride.”
God knows what would have been the outcome if the fella had actually been using Old Glory rather than the handkerchief.