Flag Day has become a forgotten holiday in the U.S., at least in the minds of the partnership that owns Fuller-Metz Funeral Home in Cape Coral and Harvey-Englehardt in Fort Myers.
Collectively, they decided to do something about it several years ago. Flag Day is this Saturday, June 14.
"We were thinking that Flag Day kind of came and went with not much fanfare," said managing partner Tim Hauck. "It's two weeks after Memorial Day when a lot of places and people do something special for the veterans who died defending that flag. So we wanted to do something to recognize Flag Day. With our sister home in Fort Myers we can cover both sides of the bridge."
On Friday, June 13, the two funeral homes will accept any size worn, torn or tattered flags and replace it with a new 3-foot by 5-foot flag to fly on Flag Day at your home or business. Flags will be exchanged from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or as long as their supply lasts.
"There have been times when we have handed out 400 new flags," said Hauck. "One of the more memorable times was a few years ago when someone brought in a 48-star flag. That was kind of neat."
Fuller-Metz and Harvey-Englehardt will properly dispose of the flags that are brought in for exchange.
According to published history, Flag Day is believed to have originated in 1885 when a Wisconsin school teacher arranged for her students to observe June 14 - the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of the national flag, also known as The Stars and Stripes and "Old Glory" - as Flag Birthday. The practice spread to other school districts and on June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration.
In 1894, the governor of New York directed the flag be displayed on all public buildings on June 14. After three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day officially was established by proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
While Wilson's proclamation was celebrated in many communities for years, it was not until Aug. 3, 1949, that President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day.
Flag Day is one of 20 long established holidays, birthdays and observances designated for flying the flag.
Flag tiquette dictates that flying the U.S. flag should be done from sunrise to sunset and never during hours of darkness unless illuminated.