The History of Labor Day

Celebrated on the first Monday of every September, Labor Day honors the contributions and achievements of the American worker. Becoming a federal holiday in 1894, Labor Day originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters.

At the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States during the late 1800s, the average American worked 12-hour days, 7-days a week. And this was just to manage a basic living. Also, and despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 worked in mills, factories, and mines earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. Workers of all ages, the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities, and breaks.

As manufacturing work replaced agriculture as the main source of American employment, labor unions grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and pressed employers to renegotiate hours and pay. In New York City on September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.

Many of these events turned violent during this period, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886, when several Chicago policemen and workers were killed. Then on May 11, 1894, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. Two months later, the American Railroad Union led by Eugene V. Debs, called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars, crippling railroad traffic nationwide. To break the strike, the federal government dispatched troops to Chicago, unleashing a wave of riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. These events, among many others, brought workers’ rights squarely into the public’s view.

The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it. Congress, however, would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later after the massive unrest involving the Pullman Palace Car Company. In an attempt to repair ties with the American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified. While many credit Peter J. McGuire, who co-founded the American Federation of Labor, others have suggested that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday.

United States Flag Store is here to answer all your questions. Feel free to give us a toll-free call at 1-877-734-2458 or email us at support@onlinestores.com.

Memorial Day

Memorial Flags

On Memorial Day we honor the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military. This day is observed by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

By the time the American Civil War had ended in the spring of 1865, more lives had been claimed than in any other conflict is U.S. history. This required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s, various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

While it is unclear where this tradition had originated, what with numerous different communities independently initiating the memorial gatherings, Waterloo, New York was declared the official birthplace of Memorial Day by the federal government in 1966. Waterloo –  which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866 –  was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. General Logan chose May 30th and called it Decoration Day. The date was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular Civil War battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, where 5,000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and by 1890, each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually became to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. However during World War I, the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict. The holiday grew to commemorate all American military personnel who died in any war.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30th, the date General Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May, in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. This change, that went into effect in 1971, also declared Memorial Day as a federal holiday.

United States Flag Store is here to answer all your questions. Feel free to give us a toll free call at 1-877-734-2458 or email us at support@onlinestores.com.

Patriotic Decorations for Your Summer Events

Now that summer is finally around the corner, it is a great time to start thinking about all those BBQ’s, picnics, parades, and especially Memorial Day, Flag Day and Fourth of July events you’ll be attending. United States Flag Store has a great assortment of Patriotic Decorations for all your summertime gatherings.

For parades or tabletop centerpieces, our stick flags are second to none. Available with ball tips, spear tips or no tips, our flags are available in 4 inch x 6 inch , 8 inch x 12 inch and 12 inch x 18 inch sizes.

US Stick Flags

Our most popular patriotic decoration is, without a doubt, the pleated fans. Available in different sizes and fabrics, there are fans available from Valley Forge, Annin and our own Super Tough brand.

Pleated Fans

You can proudly display your patriotic banner flags all summer. These flags are durable and gorgeous to look at. United States flag store also carries wall mount flag poles for the banner flags.

Patriotic Banner Flag

United States Flag Store is here to answer all your questions. Feel free to give us a toll free call at 1-877-734-2458 or email us at support@onlinestores.com.

Greece & Brazil

With the Olympics coming up, there are two very important flags you will see for two weeks: The flags from Greece and Brazil. This is because Greece is where the Olympic movement was born wgr46hf_-00_greece-flag-4-x-6-inchand Brazil is where the 2016 edition of the Olympics are held.

The current version of the Greek flag has nine horizontal stripes, blue and white. On the left hand corner is a blue square and a white cross. This flag was adopted on December 22, 1978. Earlier versions were adopted by the First National Assembly of Epidaurus on January 13, 1822. The nine stripes are believed to represent the symbols in the Greek battle cry, “Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος” (Eleutheria H Thanatos), which translates to “Freedom or Death”, which was said during the Hellenic Revolution against the Ottoman Empire. This flag is referred to as the “Κυανόλευκη” (Kyanólefki) or “blue-white” in Greece. The white symbolizes clouds in the sky, waves in the sea, and perpetual progress.

Trivia: Greek Flag Day is October 27.

The most recent Olympics held in Greece was in 2004 in Athens, the same city where the very first Olympics were held in 1896.

 


Brazil adopted its flag on November 19, 1889 but was updated on May 11, 1992. Brazil’s flag is green with a yellow rhombus with a dark blue circle in the middle with 27 stars (originally 21 stars) wbr46hf_-00_brazil-flag-4-x-6-inch-stick-flagand a white band, reading “Ordem e Progresso”, meaning Order and Progress, the national motto in green letters. The stars in the blue circle symbolize a starry sky but the stars also represent the country’s federated units, every star a single state, including the federal state.

The Brazilian flag was designed by Raimundo Texeira Mendes along with Miguel Lemos, Manuel Pereira Reis, and Décio Villares at the request of the then provisional president, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca. This was after Brazil had become a republic after being a constitutional monarchy.

Fact: The 2016 Olympics is the first to be held in South America.

Soccer: Brazil has won the most World Cups in soccer, with five wins. Brazil has many superstars including Pelé, who helped in the bid to win Brazil the right to host the Olympics.ac

 

-CD

Parade of Nations

Every four years since 1896, the Summer Olympics are held in a pre-selected host city for several weeks. This year (2016) the Olympics are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These games will be the first to be held in South America and the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere in recent years since the Sydney games in 2000.

flgtbnr1000029438_-00_team-usa-premium-felt-banner-flagEvery Olympic games holds an Opening Ceremony, featuring spectacular performances, music, culture, and more. In the midst of the Opening Ceremony is the Parade of Nations, which usually take place in a stadium, arena, or another type of venue in the host nation. The Parade of Nations is where the participating countries parade into the venue, carrying their flag, along with their national team. The teams usually range from one person to several hundred. Each team has a flagbearer, and the flagbearer is picked due to various reasons. Sometimes the flagbearer may be the sole team brazil-superknitmember, a medal hopeful, a medal winner from the previous games, or an official from the nation’s team. Larger nations like the United States elect their flagbearer

The Parade of Nations is led by Greece and ends with the host nation, which in this year’s case is Brazil. The parade will proceed according to the host nation’s alphabet. The names of the countries are written in the host nation’s language, so it will be listed in a different order. The reason Greece goes first in the parade is because they are the country who originally started the Olympics, so they always go first (with the exception of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when they went last as they were the host).

It is tradition for the flagbearers to dip (or lower) their country’s flag as a sign of respect, except for the case of the United States. When the US marches in the Parade of Nations, it is tradition for the flagbearer not to dip the flag to the leader of the host nation. This was apparently have been the case since the 1908 Olympics when the flagbearer, Ralph Rose, who was an Irish-American, said “The flag dips to no earthly king”. It is unknown particularly WHY it was done but it was made permanent after the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

Fast Fact: There is also a Parade of Nations for the Winter Olympics, as well!

-CD

Armed Forces Day

Armed ForcesSaturday, May 16, 2015 is Armed Forces Day. According to the Department of Defense website, Harry Truman established this as a national holiday, to thank our military for their service to this great country. Instead of individual Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps holidays, President Truman promoted the unity of our armed forces under the Department of Defense.

According to the DoD website, on Feb 27, 1950, President Truman stated, “Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense.”

One of the main purposes for setting aside one day for all branches was to educate the public and promote patriotism. Parades, air shows and parties marked this first holiday, with over 40,000 US Troops marching worldwide, and tens of thousands of citizens participating in parades.

In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.”

JointcolorsOur Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace – many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families. They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve. They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth – that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice.”

On that day in history, many other notable events occurred: The Red Cross celebrated 69 years, Britain stopped most of its rationing, and the Soviets returned 23 East German industrial plants to East German authorities.

What will you do this year to honor our military?

United States Flag Store Supports Community Clothes Closet

Jenny R. in Wisconsin included one of ourIMG_1403 flags in a raffled basket for her cause, Community Clothes Closet. United States Flag Store’s garden flag and holder were tucked in an adorable garden basket to be auctioned off at the fashion show on May 17th in Appleton Wisconsin. The Fox Cities Fashion Show is a community-wide event where volunteers model vintage clothing for a fun-filled afternoon. The Community Clothes Closet will use the proceeds from this fundraiser to keep its doors open to those in need. Jenny says, “Thank you for helping us continue our mission of providing free clothing to people in need while maintaining their dignity and offering opportunities to improve their lives.”

If you would like more information about the Community Clothes Closet or our fashion show please visit them here.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Barry's TeaEveryone associates St. Patrick’s Day with wearing green but it’s much more than that. Over the years, I have learned there are more ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s. Being an American, I have only seen people wear green, go to parties, and hold parades in the news. It wasn’t until recent years I found out that people made a tasty dish called Corned Beef and Cabbage (even if it’s just in the States). While I spent my St. Patrick’s Days at school growing up, it was still more fun to wear green and watch everyone else doll themselves up in wacky getups, wigs, jewelry, etc (plus all the kids got a green shamrock cookie at lunch)! We would read stories about Ireland and learn more about their culture. When I learned St. Patrick’s Day was also about feasting, I was very excited since my interest in UK and Irish culture has increased over the years and I love food. I have tried soda bread which is delicious but I have yet to try boxty (Irish potato pancake).

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who was known for bringing Christianity to Ireland. He was originally from Britain but later came to Ireland to live. It is said March 17th is the day Saint Patrick died. St. Patrick’s Day was created as a religious holiday meant to celebrate his life and work but has become a public holiday in Ireland since 1903.

St. Patrick’s Day is more important on the other side of the pond. While March 17th is a normal day for people in the United States with the addition of green to our wardrobes, it is actually considered a public holiday in Ireland, so places like banks, government offices, and even schools are closed. Since it is Ireland’s national holiday, it is a day for families to observe. Families will attend mass while wearing their best clothes to honor Saint Patrick while parades are held celebrating Irish culture. Once mass is complete, they usually join together for a feast though not with corned beef and cabbage, but rather bacon and cabbage. This dish is enjoyed with some parsley sauce, maybe with a bit of mustard and some potatoes.

While people are drowning shamrocks and toasting a certain beverage that is sometimes dyed green for the occasion, I will be St. Patrick’s Day with some Barry’s Tea imported from Ireland. Pairs up very well with a nice soda bread (especially a freshly baked one that’s buttered up while it’s nice and hot. You can also celebrate with Bewley’s, Twinings, or even our very own blend.

And so I raise my teacup in honor of Saint Patrick saying this old saying, “May your blessings outnumber, the shamrocks that grow, And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.” Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A few random St. Paddy’s facts:IMG_20150310_141024_498

  • Pubs weren’t actually allowed to open on St. Patrick’s Day until the 1970s!
  • The color of St. Patrick was not originally green but instead was blue! That changed in the 19th century when green became a more official color for Ireland.
  • Saint Patrick’s given name was Maewyn Succat. He adopted the name Patrick once he became a priest.
  • The first American St. Patrick’s Day celebration took place in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737

~ CD

Editor’s Note: Green is typically for the Catholics on St. Patrick’s Day. As a Protestant, it is appropriate for me to wear orange. But since that is not commonly known, I typically don’t. 🙂

President’s Day

IMG_0434_2President’s Day celebrates the presidents of the United States of America. This holiday is observed on the third Monday in February despite Abraham Lincoln’s birthday being on February 12th while George Washington’s is just ten days later, on February 22nd. Fun Fact: Not just Washington and Lincoln were born in February. William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan are also two other presidential February birthdays.

When George Washington was alive in the 1700s, his birthday was celebrated by much of the US, therefore observing it as a holiday. President’s Day was established in 1885 for George Washington since as he was the first President. In 1968 the first attempt to make this a national holiday failed but the second attempt (1971) was successful. Thanks to this, federal offices, schools, and even the post office will be closed to observe Washington’s Birthday, called the Uniform Monday Holiday Act to give workers a three-day weekend.

However, it’s not just Washington who gets all the attention. Some states celebrate Washington, others celebrate Washington and another person, while others celebrate both Washington and Lincoln, like my home state of California. usa46n_os_-00_main_4ft-x-6ft-nylon-us-flag-online-stores-brand_1

For President’s Day, you can raise Old Glory in honor of the presidents. It is a great way to show your patriotism and respect for these pioneers in American history. Of course, you can always raise the flag for any president, veteran, or service member you would like to celebrate.

Did you know? In the 1980s, retail stores began to use President’s Day as a marketing opportunity. Since people start to get income tax checks this time of year and many businesses are closed for the holiday, it gave consumers the benefit of time and availability to hit the sales, and the retailers a boost to their after-Christmas slumps.

~CD

Hanukkah

HannukaHistorically, the story of Hanukkah begins around 165 B.C. After three years of struggle, the Jews in Judea defeated the Syrian tyrant Antiochus. The Jewish people held festivities in the Temple of Jerusalem, and rededicated the Temple. After removing all Syrian idols from the Temple, the Jews found only one small cruse of oil with which to light their holy lamps. Miraculously, the cruse provided oil for eight days. Judas Maccabaeus, the Jewish leader, thus proclaimed a festival in celebration, to be observed by Jews.

Hanukkah is the Jewish Feast of Lights or Feast of Dedication.The Hebrew word Hanukkah means dedication. Hanukkah is also written Hannuka or Chanukah. The holiday begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew Month of Kislev and lasts eight days. Hanukkah usually falls in the month of December, but occasionally can start in November.

During Hanukkah, gifts are exchanged and contributions are made to the poor. Each evening, one additional candle is lit on the Hanukkah menorah (candelabra). By the last evening, eight lighted candles stand together.

I am not Jewish, but I have many Jewish friends. I always enjoy the diversity that is our country. Tonight starts Hanukkah for the season at sundown.

Happy Hanukkah!

**Jacquie