today to honor the tradition of Flag Day that started in Waubeka, Wisconsin 135
years ago. Bernard John Cigrand, a grade school teacher at Stony Hill School,
organized the first formal observance of our American flag, and over the next
29 years Cigrand, by his own count, gave 2,188 speeches nationwide on
patriotism and the flag. His efforts were finally rewarded in 1916 with a
Proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson, and a subsequent Act of Congress in
1949. Although not a Federal holiday, Flag Day is celebrated nationwide with
events such as this, and as a retired teacher myself, I am proud to evoke the
memory of Bernard Cigrand here today in Somerville.
and Stripes plays an important role in American culture. It is featured at
parades, sporting events, and flies proudly outside public buildings throughout
the land. It marks the graves of fallen veterans, drapes the caskets of
deceased Presidents, and even stands silent watch on the moon to mark one of
mankind’s greatest achievements. Its display recognizes the sacrifices of the
past as well as the promises of the future and serves as a beacon of hope and
freedom all over the world.
country faces an uncertain future. Social unrest, economic uncertainty, and
concerns about public health dominate the airwaves and challenge our ability to
survive as a nation. As we walk together into an unknown tomorrow, let us look
to Old Glory for direction and inspiration. Bernard Cigrand surely walks beside
us. Thank you.