PITTSFIELD — For many, it's an eye-catching source of pride.
It's a badge of honor displayed in state and federal buildings, neighborhood porches and parades from coast to coast.
It's the object to which we pledge our allegiance.
Since the late 1800s, people have been organizing celebrations of the American flag — our star-spangled banner, emblazoned in red, white and blue.
Under sunny skies on Tuesday, members of the Pittsfield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 448 Honor Guard marked Flag Day with the residents and staff members of Springside Rehabilitation & Skilled Care Center.
The facility currently serves 16 veterans, and the staff became concerned with the deteriorating state of the center's flag. So the VFW furnished a new one, hoisting it with ceremony, song and solidarity.
"We are proud to give some praise to the veterans residing with us and honor to our American flag," said Denise Vigna, clinical liaison for Springside and Craneville Place Rehabilitation & Skilled Care Centers and Sugar Hill Senior Living Community.
Celebrations to mark the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 have been documented as early as the late 19th century. Flag Day was officially proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916, but it was not until Aug. 3, 1949, that President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress formally designating June 14 as National Flag Day.
On Monday, more than 30 veterans related to students or staffers attended a Flag Day celebration at Williams Elementary School in Pittsfield.
The veterans were treated to a breakfast of homemade baked goods presented by the faculty, while being surrounded by decorations of red, white and blue, said Principal Lisa Buchinski, who organizes the event with her faculty, staff and students each year. Students made placemats, cards and posters for the occasion.
"Our fifth-grade and kindergarten students did a rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance, which breaks down the pledge into kid-friendly language, followed by the whole school doing the pledge," Buchinski said.
Student Luke Murphy read the poem, "I am the Flag." Other groups of students sang patriotic songs, while wearing red, white and blue leis. Then, one by one, students presented each attending veteran a red carnation, embellished with a red, white and blue ribbon, to show their gratitude.
At the Statehouse on Tuesday morning, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin hosted schoolchildren at a Flag Day ceremony. Flags were also handed out to all Statehouse visitors throughout the day, according to the State House News Service.
And Boston's Commonwealth Museum opened an exhibition of one of the oldest 13-star American flags, which will be on view through August.
The flag was supposedly flown during the Revolutionary War from the rebuilt Castle William, on Castle Island in Boston Harbor. It is on loan to the state museum from a private family.
Contact Jenn Smith at 413-496-6239.
On the web ...
Learn more at www.usflag.org/history/flagday.html