June 14 is set aside to honor and fly the American flag, a symbol of our nation. The date was chosen because 240 years ago in 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the stars and stripes—designed by Betsy Ross of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—as our national banner.
One hundred years ago, Flag Day took on a particularly poignant tone as Americans were overseas, the country having entered World War I. President Wilson delivered a speech at the Washington Monument emphasizing the reasons America was assisting allies who were in the clutch of a “sinister power.” His address was published in newspapers across the nation. Americans also used the day to conclude a 30-day Liberty Loan campaign to aid in fighting the war. With just days to go, $700 million was still needed to reach the $2 billion goal, but Americans came through and exceeded the amount of subscriptions issued.
Western North Carolina had its share of Flag Day observances in 1917. The Pisgah and Asheville lodges of the Knights of Pythias celebrated with a festive program including vocal and instrumental musical performances, humorous readings, and patriotic addresses. In Blowing Rock, a large flag was raised in Ransom Park while the Blowing Rock band played military music and led a procession of Boy Scouts.
Elks across the state had commemorations and parades in Wilmington, Durham, and Winston-Salem, while several DAR chapters in the Charlotte area also put on programs.