About Us » Our History

The American Flag Foundation, Inc. (formerly known as the National Flag Day Foundation) was chartered in 1982 as a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization to ensure that the true meaning of the American Flag is recognized.

Headquartered in Baltimore, birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner, the Foundation stages many activities during the year, including a Living American Flag, a Parade of State Flags, and the National Flag Day Ceremony on June 14 which includes the annual National Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.  The Foundation also produces the Educational Resource Handbooks, an elementary school curriculum on unity and patriotism.  The lessons focus on the lives of outstanding American citizens, flag etiquette, and patriotic events and symbols.

The Foundation, with over 100 volunteers, works with school systems, all levels of government, and other organizations, providing educational opportunities for people of all ages, with an emphasis on elementary school students, to understand the history and origins of the Flag, as well as the major events in our history that have made this a free nation.

Our Vision is “to make the American Flag the most important symbol for all Americans.”  Our Mission is “to encourage Patriotism in children and adults, achieved through our educational and outreach programs, focused on the American Flag.”

Our Purpose is to develop the resources and create the opportunities for all citizens, especially children, to learn the history of our nation, the symbolism of our Flag and their role in building the future.  Through the study of people, their values and the events that led to the development of the United States Flag and its symbols, students will develop the understanding of their American Heritage and the need to continue strong leadership, citizenship and character.

The Foundation has developed the Education Resource Handbooks for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teachers and students to assist in teaching Civics – history of Maryland and the Nation based on the Maryland State Department of Education Statewide Learning Outcomes in Social Studies, U. S. History, World History, Geography, Economics, Political Systems and People of the Nations and World.  The purpose of the Educational Resource Handbooks is to develop and enhance the students’ knowledge and understanding of leadership, citizenship and character.

AFF has also developed The Star-Spangled Banner Outreach Program - Community Event Planning Manual to provide a single reference, to help a sponsoring local or metropolitan-area community plan for and hold a Flag Day June 14th patriotic event.  It consolidates key features of The American Flag Foundation’s Living American Flag program and its Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance program, with a Parade of U. S. state flags, into one evening’s event on Flag Day, June 14th each year.

The Living American Flag

  • The Stars and Stripes first flew in a Flag Day celebration in Hartford, Connecticut in 1861, the first summer of the Civil War.
  • The first national observance of Flag Day came on June 14, 1877, the centennial of the original flag resolution.
  • President Woodrow Wilson issued in 1916 an official proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of Flag Day on June 14.
  • In 1949, the Congress gave the June 14 holiday permanence by a Congressional resolution.
  • The author of the Pledge of allegiance was an ordained minister and magazine writer, Francis Bellamy, whose aim was to say, “what our republic meant and what was the underlying spirit of its life.”
  • The Pledge of Allegiance was first introduced in a Columbus Day ceremony in 1892 when school children first recited it.
  • In 1980, inspired by the words of Francis Bellamy, a small group of patriotic Baltimore business leaders began the Annual National Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance Ceremony.
  • In 1982, this same group of individuals chartered the National Flag Day Foundation, Inc., now The American Flag Foundation, Inc.

 

MILESTONES

  • 1991, specially-created postcards, encouraging participation in the Annual National Pause for the Pledge of allegiance were mailed to over 1000 business executives in Maryland and nationwide.
  • 1994, a mailing of nearly 3400 letters and packets of information by the Foundation and the National League of Cities to mayors all across the nation encouraging National Flag Day ceremonies in their own cities resulted in Flag Day observances in over 700 cities.
  • The well-known “We, the People” calendar, published by the United States Capitol Historical Society, devoted a full page commemorating the centennial year of the Annual National Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • The American Legion’s 46th “Boys Nation” in Washington, D. C. included a presentation by our Foundation President on the Annual National Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance program of national unity.
  • During the 1980’s Major League Baseball held an Annual National Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance ceremony after the National Anthem.
  • Mrs. Dorothy McConville donated a collection of 195 different flags to the Foundation as a memorial to her late husband, Commander Thomas W. McConville (USN, Ret.). Commander McConville, whose naval career spanned 26 years of active duty, collected and hand painted replicas of historic American flags, regimental flags and nautical flags during his retirement years.
  • 2005, restored the McConville flag collection.
  • 2005, the Star Spangled Banner Outreach (SSBO) Program is created in conjunction with resource tools:  Orientation, Workshop, Planning Manual.
  • 2005, the first Star Spangled Banner Outreach Program successfully held in Garrett County, Maryland.
  • 2005, the Foundation branded a new name:  The National Flag Day Foundation becomes The American Flag Foundation.
  • 2006, the Star Spangled Banner Outreach Community Event Planning manual is completed.
  • 2007, the Education Resource manuals are reviewed and rewritten by a team of teachers to incorporate the Maryland State Department of Education learning outcomes.
  • 2007, the Education Resource manuals are reviewed by Towson University Department of Elementary Education.
  • 2008, the Foundation celebrates its 25th Anniversary.
  • 2008, a CD package is created of the Education Resource Handbooks and the Community Event Planning manual.
  • 2008, the 25th Living American Flag program is held.
  • 2008, the 10th Annual Louis V. Koerber Patriotism Award program is held, honoring John W. Armiger.
  • 2008, the 29th Annual National Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance is held on Flag Day, June 14th at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine:  this year’s theme is “50 Stars – You’re A Grand Ol’ Flag.”
  • 2009, the annual creation of a Living American Flag during Defenders’ Day weekend at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine begins.
  • 2010, the 6th Annual “Flag on Mountain Maryland” in Garrett County Maryland is held; a success story of the SSB Outreach Program.
  • 2010, the 11th Annual Patriotism Awards program honors Ken Burns, famed producer and  documentarian as well as a “youth” awardee, Spencer Harjung.
  • 2010, John A. Butler is elected President of AFF.
  • 2010, Richard M. Patterson and Henry A. Rosenberg, Jr. become Chairmen Emeritus.
  • 2010, AFF contributed and coordinated filming of “The Color Bearers“ at Fort McHenry and Star Spangled Banner Flag House for MPT programming.
  • 2010, AFF is represented on the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission Statewide Education Committee and the Baltimore City Education Committee.
  • 2010, Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance held for the first time at Oregon Ridge Park.
  • 2010, a website redesign undertaken for an interactive experience, as well as ecommerce.
  • 2010, 125,000 students participate in the Living American Flag program held annually in May.
  • 2011, a partnership is established between AFF, Friends of Fort McHenry, Star Spangled Banner Flag House for sales of Bicentennial War of 1812 Commemorative Flags.
  • 2011, The leadership of The American Flag Foundation and the Baltimore Area Council -- Boy Scouts of America form a partnership. 
  • Have reached over 200,000 children in elementary schools with our Traveling Living American Flag outreach program.
  • We designed and laid out the largest Living American Flag ever attempted on September 9, 2014 during the War of 1812 Bicentennial Program, at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Honored the Adjutant General of Maryland at Flag Day 2014, on his retirement from that position.
  • Have conducted 35 Flag Day Pause for the Pledge programs, since mandated by Congress.
  • Our web site is the "GO TO" information site for information about our American Flag.  We receive hundreds of requests for information about our Flag every year!

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