6/15/2020 - 2020 Flag Day Ceremony Remarks


We gather 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.

The Stars 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.

Today our 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.


Mayor Dennis Sullivan

June 14, 2020

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