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Celebrate Flag Day and Honor a Veteran
Paul D. Pate
Secretary of State
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Iowa Secretary of State Seal WEBSITE:
Kevin Hall
Communications Director
(515) 725-2942
June 14, 2015

Celebrate Flag Day and Honor a Veteran

This Sunday, June 14, marks National Flag Day. I hope all Iowans will take a moment on Sunday to think about the American Flag, what it stands for and what it truly means to be an American. We are extremely fortunate to live in the greatest country in the world.

The U.S. flag remains a symbol for freedom across the globe. It represents the brave men and women that have served this country in uniform, beginning with our Founding Fathers and continuing through this day. The flag reminds us that this country was made possible because of the sacrifice of our veterans. We need to respect the U.S. flag and the soldiers who have fought for the freedoms it represents.

One way you can honor our veterans is by exercising your right to vote. The Iowa Secretary of State's Office is expanding the Honor a Veteran with Your Vote program. We are doing this as a tribute to veterans because the freedom to choose our representatives is what they fought for and what this country was built upon.

As Iowa's Commissioner of Elections, I respect and appreciate the service of the men and women who have served our country honorably. There is not a higher honor that I think we can give them than making sure we protect our democracy by voting. You can also make personal tribute to a veteran on our website,

While many people correctly recognize and celebrate July 4 as anniversary of the birth of our nation, June 14, 1777 marks the day the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States of America. The red and white stripes represent the original thirteen colonies. There are 50 stars, symbolizing our 50 states.

The first known observance of June 14 as Flag Day took place 130 years ago, in 1885. Bernard J. Cigrand, a 19-year-old teacher in Wisconsin, placed a 10-inch, 38-star flag in a bottle on his desk and asked his students to write an essay on the U.S. Flag and its significance. That project began a lifelong journey for Cigrand.

He devoted his efforts to instituting a nationwide observance of Flag Day. That dream became reality in 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation to commemorate June 14 as Flag Day. The date became an officially recognized annual event in 1949 when President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress that designated June 14 as National Flag Day.

June 14 is an important anniversary for all Americans. This Sunday, take a moment to gaze upon the Stars and Stripes and remember what it means. If you own a U.S. flag, display it proudly this weekend. It is equally important that you honor the flag and all those who have fought for it by exercising your right to vote on the next Election Day.


Paul D. Pate
Iowa Secretary of State