The Story of the American Flag Through Stamps

Flag Day Expands

1-cent Franklin Coil Pair on cover
Two 1-cent stamps cancelled by a American flag shaped cancel in Vera Cruz, Mexico during a brief occupation of the area by American forces in 1914.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that the flag be displayed on all public buildings on June 14. This same year the American Flag Day Association was created, with Benard Cigrand and Leroy van Horn at its helm, to promote the holding of Flag Day exercises. Their efforts paid off. In 1894, the American Flag Day Association organized the first general public school children’s celebration in Chicago. More than 300,000 children and many notable adults participated in celebrations held in various public parks.

Over the years, many notable adults took part in these Flag Day celebrations. In 1914, the Secretary of the Interior, Franklin K. Lane, delivered a Flag Day address in which he repeated words he claimed the flag had spoken to him that morning: “I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”