(House of Representatives - June 14, 2004)

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[Pages H3910-H3912]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree 
to the resolution (H. Res. 662) recognizing that Flag Day originated in 
Ozaukee County, Wisconsin.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                              H. Res. 662

       Whereas on June 14, 1777, the Stars and Stripes was 
     officially adopted as the national flag of the United States;
       Whereas in 1885, Bernard John Cigrand, a school teacher 
     from Waubeka, Wisconsin, urged the students at the public 
     school in Fredonia, Wisconsin, to observe June 14 as ``Flag 
       Whereas Mr. Cigrand placed a ten inch 38-star flag in an 
     inkwell and instructed his students at Stony Hill School to 
     write essays on what the flag meant to them;
       Whereas on May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a 
     Presidential Proclamation that officially established June 14 
     as Flag Day; and
       Whereas on August 3, 1949, President Truman signed an Act 
     of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag 
     Day: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
       (1) urges the people of the United States to study, reflect 
     on, and celebrate the importance of the flag of the United 
       (2) encourages the people of the United States to display 
     the flag of the United States in accordance with the 
     provisions of chapter 1 of title 4, United States Code; and
       (3) recognizes that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, 

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) and the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
Kildee) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. 

                             General Leave

  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend 
their remarks and include extraneous material on House Resolution 662 
currently under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Wisconsin?

[[Page H3911]]

  There was no objection.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
  Mr. Speaker, it is with great honor that I rise in support of this 
resolution recognizing Flag Day, which is celebrated each year on this 
day, June 14.
  The American flag is the symbol of hope, freedom, and unity. The flag 
symbolizes the resolve of our country and demonstrates our ability to 
overcome adversity. As we encounter new challenges, we are reminded of 
the men and women who have fought to defend and preserve the values 
that the flag represents. These men and women serve as a testament to 
our great Nation. They made their sacrifice because of their belief in 
our country and the values we hold so dear. There is no greater symbol 
of that sacrifice than the American flag.
  Flag Day originated in 1885 with a school teacher named Bernard John 
Cigrand in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. Cigrand, inspired by love for his 
adopted country, placed a 38-star flag in the inkwell of his classroom 
and instructed his students at Stony Hill School to write essays on 
what the flag meant to them. Cigrand's enthusiasm for the flag sparked 
the interest of his students, but it did not stop there. Cigrand also 
spent numerous hours writing to magazines and newspapers emphasizing 
the good that would come out of a holiday celebrating the flag. Without 
his hard work and dedication, Flag Day would not exist. For his 
efforts, Cigrand was cited by President Bush in his 2001 Flag Day 
proclamation as one of the first to push for a national celebration for 
the flag.
  Although it began in a small, one-room schoolhouse in Wisconsin, Flag 
Day gained popularity in 1889 when George Balch, a schoolteacher in New 
York City, organized activities celebrating the American flag. It was 
later adopted by the State Board of Education in New York. The Flag Day 
celebrations expanded to Philadelphia where it was celebrated by the 
Betsy Ross House in 1891. The following year, the New York Society of 
Sons celebrated Flag Day.
  Although pockets of the country celebrated Flag Day, it did not 
become an official holiday until 1916 when it was officially 
established by the proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson. Even 
though Flag Day was celebrated nationally after this proclamation, it 
was not until August 3, 1949, that President Truman signed an act of 
Congress which officially designated June 14 as National Flag Day.
  One of the many important events honoring the American flag occurs 
each year right where Flag Day began. People from all over Wisconsin 
turn out to raise their flags and celebrate this day. Individuals line 
the streets in Waubeka to watch parades that feature marching and 
dancing bands. Different versions of the flag are on display, including 
a 30-star flag which symbolizes the addition of Wisconsin to the Union. 
There is no other place in the country where people more 
enthusiastically celebrate the American flag than Waubeka, Wisconsin.
  Today, as people across the country raise their American flags to 
celebrate the resolve of our great Nation, I ask my colleagues to join 
me in celebrating National Flag Day and recognizing Ozaukee County, 
Wisconsin, as the birth of Flag Day.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. KILDEE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the resolution offered by the 
distinguished chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary.
  The gentleman's resolution recognizes the efforts of Bernard John 
Cigrand, a schoolteacher from Waubeka, Wisconsin, who, in 1885, urged 
his students to observe June 14 as Flag Birthday.
  That effort, at a time when the flag had only 38 stars, developed 
into Flag Day, which President Truman signed into law on August 3, 
  As we observe Flag Day, and we consider this resolution, I hope all 
Americans would, as the resolution urges, reflect on the values that 
the flag represents: the rights of all Americans under the law to free 
speech, free press, and freedom of assembly; religious liberty; the 
right to face their accusers in court; to be secure in their homes and 
papers; to be free from cruel and unusual punishment; and the right to 
due process of law.
  It is those values and this Nation which fought to protect these 
rights, that make the flag such a potent symbol. I hope that as we 
celebrate Flag Day, Mr. Speaker, we will all take time to celebrate 
what the flag represents.
  I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner), the 
chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, for bringing this 
resolution forward; and I urge my colleagues to support it.
  Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume 
to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Green).
  Mr. GREEN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for 
yielding me this time, and I thank him also for being such a strong 
advocate for protecting the flag and our heritage.
  Mr. Speaker, today we observe Flag Day, a day, as previous speakers 
have indicated, we commemorate the adoption of our flag on June 14, 
1777. This past weekend, I walked in the Flag Day parade in Appleton, 
Wisconsin, and to this unbiased observer, the largest and grandest such 
celebration in America. We celebrated the Stars and Stripes. It was 
red, white and blue as far as the eye could see, and on display were 
the patriotism and pride that those colors evoke in every American 
heart. We celebrated because this flag remained standing as we fought 
for our independence, fought to remain one Nation, as we fought the 
great wars of liberty; and it remains standing proudly as we continue 
to fight for freedom today. No matter the era, no matter the challenge, 
this symbol of our great Nation and our values is there, proud and 
free, for all the world to see.
  As a Wisconsinite, I am proud to say that it was a schoolteacher from 
Wisconsin who began this celebration. How appropriate. Today is a day 
on which we should take a minute to stop, to look at our grand old 
flag, and to reflect upon what it means. We should also reflect upon 
the sacrifice that so many have made in so many lands far away to 
ensure that Old Glory will fly free and proud for generations to come.
  Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON. Mr. Speaker, today, June 14, we celebrate 
Flag Day--a special time for all Americans to reflect upon, the 
important symbolism for which ``Old Glory'' stands.
  Whenever we see our Nation's flag, we are reminded of what it stands 
for--the freedom to speak, worship, and believe as we choose.
  On this particular Flag Day, I stand in honor of all our soldiers who 
are carrying out the real meaning of our flag in Iraq, in Afghanistan, 
in South Korea, in Haiti and in Asia.
  The pledge to the flag is a spoken commitment to all that we as 
Americans hold dear: ``I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United 
States of America. One nation, under God, with freedom and justice for 
  It is a promise of hope, not only to us, but to the world. It should 
never be said lightly, nor be disparaged.
  We have a lot to be proud of in this country and the flag symbolizes 
to us and the world what is best about America.
  It speaks of tolerance, compassion, diversity, unity, and mutual 
respect. It is a reflection of the totality of America.
  As we honor the red, white, and blue today, we should all recognize 
how lucky we are to be citizens of the country that the Stars and 
Stripes represents.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate Flag Day, June 
  Flag Day has a particularly special meaning this year, as many of our 
troops are serving overseas as part of the global war against 
terrorism. I stand behind our brave men and women who have performed 
admirably in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the globe. They 
have made tremendous sacrifices on behalf of their country and have 
served longer deployments than expected.
  The Flag of the United States continues to stand for democracy and 
freedom throughout the world. The Continental Congress approved the 
design of a national flag 227 years ago today. The American flag, in 
its current form, first flew over the Capitol in 1818. The flag has 
been altered twenty-seven times over the years. The current version 
dates to July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state.
  Our flag symbolizes the union between the states and federal 
government, as we the people of the United States seek to form a more 
perfect union, as envisioned in our Constitution. Since 1916, when 
President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation declaring 
June 14 Flag Day, Americans have

[[Page H3912]]

commemorated the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by celebrating this 
special day in our Nation's history.
  Flag Day also holds a special place in the history of Baltimore, 
Maryland, which I am privileged to represent in the House of 
Representatives. In 1814 in Baltimore at Fort McHenry, this Nation, 
this young Nation, won its second war of independence. It was the 
beginning of the end of the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key 190 years 
ago wrote his inspirational poem that became our National Anthem.
  As we continue our global war on terrorism, and face a continuing 
threat on our shores, Francis Scott Key wrote some words that are 
helpful for us on this Flag Day:

     ``From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.
     And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave.''

  We survived the attack by a hostile power and became the strongest 
Nation in the world, and we will survive this attack on our democratic 
principles, and we will grow even stronger. Let us remember on this 
Flag Day the values we hold dear, and that we are willing to fight 
for--and even die for--these values of liberty, democracy and justice. 
Our flag will continue to symbolize this eternal struggle, as we seek 
to secure the blessings of liberty for our fellow Americans and for all 
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, 
I urge the adoption of the resolution, and I yield back the balance of 
my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) that the House suspend the 
rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 662.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor 
thereof) the rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.