Flag Day, which is observed annually on June 14, is a day that commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. Many people celebrate Flag Day by displaying the American flag in the front of their homes, going to parades, and attending other patriotic observances across the nation.
Is Pennsylvania the only U.S. state that recognizes Flag Day as a legal holiday?
Yes, Pennsylvania is the only U.S. state that recognizes Flag Day as a legal holiday.
WHAT WE FOUND
Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the U.S. The Library of Congress says, according to legend, George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross are said to have commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross in 1776 to create a flag for the new nation in anticipation of a declaration of its independence.
During the private meeting, which was held in Ross’ parlor, according to the Betsy Ross House, Washington is said to have shown Ross a sketch of a flag with 13 red and white stripes and 13 six-pointed stars. The next year, on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed a resolution approving the design of a national flag:
“That the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.”
The unified observance of the adoption of the flag did not happen overnight, according to the VA. Some cities, including New York, Philadelphia, and Hartford, Connecticut, celebrated their own versions of Flag Day before it became nationally observed.
In 1893, the VA says the Society of Colonial Dames, an organization that promotes its national heritage through the preservation of historic properties, succeeded in getting a resolution passed to have the American flag displayed on all of Philadelphia’s public buildings. Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania president Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, who was a direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin, also tried to get the city to call June 14 Flag Day, but her request was not granted because “resolutions by women were not granted much notice” at that time.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation that established a national Flag Day on June 14. Nearly 21 years later, Pennsylvania became the first U.S. state to establish Flag Day as a legal holiday on May 7, 1937, according to the VA. On August 3, 1949, Congress approved the national observance of Flag Day on June 14, which was signed into law by President Harry Truman.
But Pennsylvania remains the only state to honor Flag Day as a legal holiday. In an email, a governor's office spokesperson told VERIFY, "Pennsylvanians are encouraged to participate in Flag Day celebrations, but Flag Day is not a paid holiday for Commonwealth of Pennsylvania employees and business operations continue as normal today."
Outside of Pennsylvania, other states have robust Flag Day celebrations. For instance, the oldest Flag Day parade in the country is held each year in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify that while Flag Day is a legal holiday in Pennsylvania, it is not a paid holiday for Commonwealth of Pennsylvania employees and state government business operations continue as normal throughout the day.