In 1916, Woodrow Wilson issued an official Presidential Proclamation establishing July 14th as Flag Day.
Some three decades later, in 1949, the U.S. Legislature passed an Act of Congress that officially designated July 14th as Flag Day, urging the people of the United States to observe the day as the anniversary of the adoption by the Continental Congress of the Stars and Stripes as the nation’s official flag.
(Sorry employees, but that doesn’t mean you can skip work.)
But dating back to well before Wilson’s proclamation, the small rural town of Fairfield, Washington, has shown it needs no official urging to celebrate: it has been ringing in Flag Day with a parade and celebration unlike anywhere else in the country — and been doing it since 1909.
Fairfield, WA, is by most accounts a typical small Washington town. Lying just west of the Idaho border and south of both Spokane, WA, and Coeur D’Alene, ID, Fairfield is barely larger than about one half square mile. Population just 494.
But each summer, the quiet town comes to life and buzzes with excitement, as residents and tourists alike partake in the nation’s oldest Flag Day Celebration. The town’s small businesses stay busy as onlookers line Main St. for the annual parade.
While the annual celebration was held over the weekend, today marks the 101st Flag Day since the Washington town’s first parade — an anniversary worth saluting .
(Though not saluting formally, of course, as that’s reserved for the flag itself.)