I pledge allegiance to
the flag of the United
States of America and
to the Republic for
which it stands, one
nation under God,
indivisible, with
liberty and justice
for all.
Bernard J. CiGrand

      Bernard J. Cigrand (from the French “CiGrand” meaning “so great”) was born on Yankee Hill in Waubeka, Wisconsin on October 1, 1866. He was the youngest of six children of Nicholas and Susan Cigrand who had settled and married here a decade earlier after immigrating to this country from Luxembourg in Northwestern Europe. A look at CiGrand’s Family give us insight into the background that prepared the son for a lifetime of achievement.

Bernard J. CiGrand, Father of Flag Day       As a youth, young Cigrand sold scrap iron and rags to buy books. At 12 he worked as a sales agent for the U S Book and Bible Club earning 25 cents for each book he sold. He was a conductor on a steam barge on the Milwaukee River in the Waubeka area. Inspired by his father, young Cigrand displayed an early interest in American history. He was a devout patriot with a great love of the flag of our nation.

      Cigrand earned $40.00/month teaching school at Stony Hill and with income from selling books was able to pay his way through dental school. In 1888, he graduated first in his class from Lake Forest College of Dentistry.

      He was one of the contributing editors of the Encyclopedia Americana. One of his items was “The Recognition and Meaning of Flag Day” He wrote a widely distributed pamphlet on “Laws and Customs Regulating the use of the Flag of the United States.”

Some of the books he wrote are:

“Story of the American Flag” Profusely illustrated.
“The Real Abraham Lincoln”
“The Life of Alexander Hamilton”
“The Real Robert Morris” (A Pennsylvania banker known as “the financier of the American Revolution.”)
“Story of the Great Seal of the United States.”
“History of American Emblems”
“The History of American Heraldry”

The Father of Flag Day

      Bernard J. Cigrand was first and foremost an American patriot. From the 1880s through the 1930s, he preached respect and honor for the nation and its flag.

      In 1885, however, Cigrand still a teenager and only at the beginning of his journey. He entered dental college later that year, mixing his professional studies with the promotion of the flag.

      In June 1886 he made his first public proposal for the annual observance of the birth of the flag when he wrote an article titled “The Fourteenth of June” in the old Chicago Argus newspaper.

      In June of 1888, at the same time he was graduating first in his class from dental college, Cigrand addressed a Chicago organization known as the “Sons of America”. In his speech he emphasized the good that would come from a flag holiday. In response, the organization undertook to publish a magazine called the “American Standard” to inculcate reverence for American emblems, and appointed Cigrand its editor-in-chief. Cigrand’s articles in this magazine helped direct public attention to the Flag and the date of its birth.

      In the years that followed, Cigrand authored hundreds of other magazine and newspaper articles advocating recognition of the June 14th adoption of the Stars and Stripes.

      In the third Saturday in June, 1894, , the first general public school children’s celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating. These observances were held in the five parks again the next year, also on the third Saturday of June.

      In the years that followed, 36 Governors, scores of mayors and five Presidents of the United States sent delegates and credentials agreeing that Flag Day should be observed in all states of the Union on the actual June 14 anniversary of the adoption of the flag .By 1916 flag ceremonies on June 14 had become so prevalent that President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing Flag Day as an annual national event.

Cigrand died of a sudden heart attack on 16 May 1932

      President Harry S. Truman signed the legislation in 1949 and June 14th was properly designated Flag Day. On June 14th, 2004, the 108th U.S. Congress voted unanimously on H.R. 662 that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Waubeka Wisconsin, 60 years after Truman.
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