If you ask an average person what celebrations occur this month, you’d probably be told those that appear on their wall or phone calendars. Checking my smart phone: Flag Day, Juneteenth, and Father’s Day were the holidays listed for me.
June 14 is Flag Day. It originated from a resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777 concerning a flag for the newly forming United States. The resolution read “Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.” However, it wasn’t until May 30, 1916 that a proclamation for Flag Day would be issued. On that day, President Wilson wrote “I therefore suggest and request that throughout the nation and if possible in every community the fourteenth day of June be observed as Flag Day with special patriotic exercises.” President Truman made the day a permanent observance by law in 1949. This year, the patriotic exercises such as a parade and the public speeches are not likely, but you can still fly our flag to celebrate it.
Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19. The name of the holiday is a “portmanteau.” Yes, I had to look that word up too! It means a blend of words where parts of multiple words are combined to form a new word. In this case June and Nineteenth, become Juneteenth. For African Americans, this is an Independence Day for them. It recognizes the day Union soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas and announced the end of the Civil War. Although President Lincoln issued
the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery to be effective Jan 1, 1863; it was two and half years later that this final slave area was freed. Celebrations might be a food festival, readings of the Emancipation Proclamation and the works of Ralph Ellison or Maya Angelou, and the singing of traditional black songs such as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” It may also include rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, and Miss Juneteenth contests. Not yet a National Holiday, it is recognized as a holiday or special observance in 46 of 50 states. This holiday is also known by various other names to include Freedom Day, Black Fourth of July, or Jubilee Day.
Father’s Day this year falls on Sunday, June 21. Washington State celebrated the first Father’s Day in Spokane in 1910. It was inspired by Mother’s Day whose roots went back to the 1860s. Mother’s Day did not become a successful and commercial holiday until 1908. Then it took off. By 1909, 45 states were observing Mother’s Day. In 1914 President Wilson approved the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Father’s Day didn’t have the universal appeal of Mother’s Day. Many fathers resisted celebrating the day. It was President Coolidge, who urged state governments to observe Father’s Day in 1924. Over the years both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day faced proposals that they be scrapped as being just a commercial gimmick. Others suggested combining them into a single “Parents Day.”.In 1972 however, President Nixon ensured the survival of Father’s Day by making it a federal holiday. This year we may have to celebrate our dads differently if still sheltered in place and separated from them.
If you’re interested, search “2020 June Holidays.” You’ll find a variety of things to celebrate in June. Pride Month of course; but also, Black Music Month, Country Cooking Month, and Adopt a Cat Month. One of my favorites would be National Bathroom Reading Month! Others to note would be: National Little League Baseball Week (June 14-20), National Nursing Assistants Week (June 18-25), National Hug Holiday Week (Third Week of June). Perhaps the most appropriate weeklong celebration this year would be National Hermit Week (June 13-20).
If a month or weeklong celebration isn’t your thing, try these unique days this month. National Donut Day on June 5, Best Friends Day on June 8, Family History Day on June 14, or National Chocolate Pudding Day on June 26. I’m sure I’ll skip World Bike Naked Day on June 13, but perhaps I’ll celebrate National Columnists Day on June 23. I sincerely hope shelter-in-place is relaxed enough to enjoy the June 29, Hug Holiday! Don’t know about you, but I miss my hugs. Regardless of what you choose to celebrate or how to celebrate special days, stay safe and be well.