Where else to celebrate Flag Day than at the home of the nation's first flag? The Betsy Ross House hosts events now through Saturday, in addition to other historic locations around the city. (Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC)
What’s more fun than a birthday party? Well, TWO birthday parties, of course!
Philadelphia will celebrate the anniversaries of both the United States Flag (235 years) and the United States Army (237 years) in a series of free outdoor events and presentations throughout the city — from Independence Mall to Drexel University in West Philadelphia — on Thursday, June 14.
Philadelphia’s Flag Day & U.S. Army Birthday Spectacular is a historic double birthday celebration in the city that was the birthplace of the U.S. Army, the American Flag and the nation. The Army will actually be celebrating its anniversary through activities worldwide all weeklong, June 11–16, but the focus will be here in Philadelphia on June 14.
Below is a schedule of all of the fun-filled patriotic events observing these momentous anniversaries tomorrow, Thursday, June 14:
National Constitution Center
• 200 U.S. Army recruits will assemble on the lawn and join active military units, reserve units, National Guard and military reenactors for a 50-star American flag-raising ceremony at 8:45 a.m.
• At 9:30 a.m., the Constitution Center will be filled with Old Glory-inspired family activities including arts and crafts; a Flag Etiquette Workshop; “The Star Spangled Banner Show;” special appearances by Betsy Ross and George Washington reenactors; a 20-foot-by-38-foot flag-folding and a formal flag-lowering ceremony at 4:45 p.m.
• An original 13-star flag will be unfurled outside Independence Hall at 9:20 a.m. Cynthia MacLeod, Superintendent of Independence National Historical Park, will present a reading of the original Flag Act and a George Washington reenactor will read the historic resolution by the Continental Congress that established the United States Army on June 14, 1775.
• The mall will host a variety of U.S. Army tactical vehicles such as a Mine Resistant Armored Personnel; a Stryker, the latest large armored vehicle resembling a tank; a M1114 Up-armored HUMMV; and an LMTV truck with a tow-behind Howitzer.
Betsy Ross House
• Philadelphia’s Official Flag Day Ceremony will include a military band performance, the presentation of a City of Philadelphia Proclamation commemorating the 235th Birthday of the American Flag, and a naturalization ceremony in which 13 individuals will become American citizens.
• Bonus: on Friday, the Betsy Ross Houses hosts an outdoor Flag Day Movie Night with quizzo afterwards.
• Double bonus: Saturday sees the annual Flag Fest with live entertainment, puppet shows, free kids’ crafts, Once Upon A Nation History Makers, an aerial circus, jugglers and more, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Drexel University will host an official “flag retirement ceremony” at 4 p.m., marking the culmination of Philadelphia’s Flag Day & U.S. Army Birthday Spectacular. A group of old flags will be retired, employing all of the prescribed honors and national protocols.
• The “stars-studded” program will include the Presentation of Colors by the U.S. Army’s Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion, the Flag Retirement Ceremony, a presentation of the poem “I am the Flag” by Howard Schnauber and a rendition of Taps.
• The retired flags will be incinerated at Drexel Park, and interred at the Betsy Ross House on Saturday, June 16.
Outdoor events at the National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House and Drexel Park are free to the public. Family activities taking place at the National Constitution Center are free with admission.
Flag Day 2012 Events in Philadelphia
Where: Various locations throughout the city
When: Thursday, June 14
More info: www.constitutioncenter.org