Is Flag Day a Holiday? Only If You Live in This State

Flag Day is observed across the U.S. as a day to commemorate the adoption of the U.S. flag. It is celebrated annually on the anniversary of the flag's adoption, which took place on June 14, 1777—but it is only officially celebrated as a holiday in two states.

The History of Flag Day

The Continental Congress adopted a resolution during the American Revolution that stated that "the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white" and that "the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."

The "Stars and Stripes" was based on the "Grand Union" flag, a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that also consisted of 13 red and white stripes.

Flag Day was first celebrated around 150 years after the U.S. flag was adopted, though it's unclear who exactly is responsible for suggesting the holiday.

Some sources say that George Morris from Hartford, Connecticut, suggested the idea of Flag Day in 1861, which led to his hometown observing the holiday, according to Mental Floss.

Other sources suggest that schoolteacher B.J. Cigrand, who is known as "the father of Flag Day," established the holiday when he and his class at Stony Hill School, Wisconsin, celebrated it in 1885.

Additionally, on June 14, 1889, another schoolteacher George Balch celebrated Flag Day with his class. The State Department of Education of New York then decided that the day would be observed in all public schools from then on.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that Flag Day was an official holiday, and it became a national holiday in 1949 when an Act of Congress declared the day "National Flag Day."

Is Flag Day a Holiday?

Although it is observed across the nation, Flag Day isn't a federal holiday. Therefore, the businesses and services that typically close on federal holidays, such as government services and the United States Postal Service (USPS) will be open and running as usual. It is also unlikely that businesses will give their employees a day off for Flag Day.

However, Flag Day is officially observed as a holiday in only one state—in 1937, Pennsylvania adopted Flag Day as a state holiday celebrated on June 14. Although not an official state holiday, New York recognizes Flag Day on the second Sunday in June.

While Flag Day is not celebrated as a federal holiday, Americans across the country can still observe the day by displaying the U.S. flag in front of their homes and businesses, and some cities and towns may be celebrating with Flag Day parades and events.

US Flag
An American flag circa 1985. Flag Day is observed annually on June 14. Alfred Gescheidt/Getty