Forgotten Flag Day? The patriotic holiday is Saturday, but few are planning to celebrate |

Forgotten Flag Day? The patriotic holiday is Saturday, but few are planning to celebrate

SUMMIT COUNTY – With the sudden surge in patriotism since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, one might expect a big celebration on Flag Day.

Yet for most people, Flag Day is a mystery.

Even Frisco Hallmark Store employee Cherri De Santis had to look into her all-knowing holiday book to see when the holiday is and if, indeed, her employer recognizes Flag Day.

It’s Saturday, she found out, and it is a recognized Hallmark holiday. But you won’t find cards in her store for the occasion. The flags in the corner, near the red-white-and-blue paper cups, were put there for the Fourth of July.

While local towns will be celebrating by lining their main streets with flags, there will be no parades. The celebration, started by a Wisconsin schoolteacher in 1884, still hasn’t gained the popularity of other, more decorated holidays.

“I live in the Bay area, so I’d probably get shot by hanging a flag,” said Krista Rea, of Oakland, Calif., in town for the week. “Unless I’m protesting it, or something. Then I might be OK.”

Not everyone is scared of the stars and stripes, but throwing a Flag Day bash is still not a fad.

“I don’t really celebrate it,” said Denver’s John Burnett, a retiree and outdoorsman in town for the day. “I appreciate our rich heritage in America. I think that’s what it’s celebrating. The history of putting a nation together, from the Declaration of Independence to today.”

But do he and his wife own a flag?

“I hate to say it, but we don’t,” Burnett added. “We honor it, but we’re not flag-waving people. I don’t need a flag to appreciate what we have here.”

Silverthorne’s Mario Herrera has two flags in his home: an American flag and a Mexican flag.

“I have the Mexican flag because it’s where I was born,” Herrera said. “America is where I live now, so both mean something to me.”

But what about celebrating Flag Day?

“I don’t know what that is,” he laughed. “Is that an American holiday now?”

Flag Day was officially established as a time of celebration by President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. Not until Aug. 3, 1949, did it become official, when President Harry S. Truman signed the act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day.

Soon after, Francis Bellamy, an ordained minister of Rome, N.Y., wrote, “Let the flag float over every schoolhouse in the land and the exercise be such as shall impress upon our youth the patriotic duty of citizenship.”

Then, in 1966, Congress called for the week of June 14 to be National Flag Week.

Apparently, the message was lost on most walking through Frisco on Thursday. Frisco residents Joey Smith and Mike Davis were blunt, to say the least.

“It doesn’t mean anything to me,” Davis said.

“Can it be any kind of flag?” Smith asked.

“I guess it could be,” Davis replied.

“I guess I just don’t know much about it, to be honest,” Smith said.

But what about people from Texas, home of the current president?

“We don’t do it down in Texas, that’s for sure,” said Jeff Hopf, vacationing from San Antonio with his wife, Jeanna.

“Yes we do,” Jeanna contradicted. “People hang the flags all the time. They just don’t celebrate the holiday. I have a friend who flies the Confederate flag every July 4.”

So, maybe the holiday isn’t quite Christmas. If you do feel like celebrating, American flags can be bought at stores like True Value or Target for between $15 and $35.

“We have all different sizes,” said Bill Eaton, manager of True Value. “It really depends on the size and whether you want a wood pole or a metal pole, or if you’re just getting a replacement flag.”

Ryan Slabaugh can be contacted at (970) 668-3998 ext. 257, or at

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