SHAKO: U.S. Army Birthday; Flag Day 2021

June 15, 2021 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

Happy 246th Birthday!

(U.S. Army photo by Specialist Laura Stephens)

June 14th is a double-barreled day of significance in the United States. It’s the U.S. Army’s 246th Birthday and it’s also Flag Day, when Americans celebrate our national emblem — the Stars and Stripes.

The photo above shows soldiers assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” participating in the U.S. Army Birthday Run at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia.

On June 14, 1775 — at the urging of John Adams (the future 2nd U.S. president) — the Continental Congress, in effect, created the U.S. Army by voting $2 million in funding for the colonial militias around Boston and New York City. Congress also ordered the raising of ten companies of expert riflemen from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Together with the ragtag militias in New England and New York they would form the first Continental Army. George Washington of Virginia, one of the few colonials with military command experience (from the French and Indian War) would take command in Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 3, 1775.

Flag Day

Two years later, on June 14, 1777, Congress adopted the 13-star, 13-red-and-white-and blue-striped banner as the national flag. Flag day was celebrated on various days in various ways around the United States until the 20th century.

A member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment — The Old Guard — places American flags in front of gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia on May 23, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Jose A. Torres Jr.)

As war wracked Europe and the Middle East in 1916, and it looked more and more like the United States would be drawn into the horrific conflict known as the Great War, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day. In August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress — but it’s not an official federal holiday.

 

Francis Scott Key notes “that our flag was still there” during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. (Photo courtesy of Library of Congress)

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SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress, or parade, uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York in the photo at left.

Entry filed under: Army, Army National Guard, National Security and Defense, SHAKO, Traditions, Washington, women in the military.

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