Today's a holiday.

It's not one for which you'll get a day off work with pay. You probably won't have a picnic to celebrate it. There's even the possibility it could have passed by without your noticing.

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress .

In 1916, 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.

Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, though on June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first (and only) U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday.

Very few towns have Flag Day observances.

The Lehighton Elks used to have an annual program in the Lehighton Park Amphitheater whereby the history of the flag was depicted. This was discontinued when the Lehighton Elks lodge merged with the Tamaqua Lodge.

The American Flag is a symbol of America's rebellion against British monarchy. It's arguably the most important symbol of our freedoms.

So important was the flag to our forefathers that they wrote in the United States Flag Code, "Like a fallen soldier, a flag that is being retired must be handled with reverence and dignity."

Although Flag Day has been observed on June 14 for a long time, maybe it should be changed to a date on the school calendar that our younger generations are kept aware of the flag and the sacrifices made for what it represents.

Here's another example of how much our forefathers loved the flag:

On June 14, 1908, Theodore Roosevelt was dining outside Philadelphia, when he noticed a man wiping his nose with what he thought was the American Flag. In outrage, Roosevelt picked up a small wooden rod and began to whip the man for "defacing the symbol of America."

After about five or six strong whacks, he noticed that the man was not wiping his nose with a flag, but with a blue handkerchief with white stars.

Upon realization of this, he apologized to the man, but hit him once more for making him "riled up with national pride."

Few would react with Roosevelt's fervor.

But the flag is still very important, and today is a special holiday.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com