BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — “Thirteen Stripes. 50 Stars. A very simple design, yet so symbolic.”

Flag Day celebrations returned to Forest Lawn Cemetery on Tuesday, honoring what it means to be American.

“To live as one nation — one nation that celebrates all of our differences,” Greg Johnson, a Principal who spoke at the event said, “All of our cultures, histories and pasts.”

The holiday has roots right here in Buffalo, as the founder was a former Buffalo Public School Teacher, Sarah Hinson.

Hinson taught the importance of saluting the flag, and saying the Pledge of Allegience. She chose June 14 as a day to honor these practices, as it is the date America adopted the flag in 1777.

“The teacher who had a dream to let the students know that they should say the Pledge of Allgiance — that maybe there could be a day of honor of our flag,” Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns said at the event. “She probably didn’t think that this would go national, but she had a dream.”

Over 600 students attended the event, keeping her dream alive.

“It’s important to celebrate Flag Day, because you can honor the flag and show your love for the flag,” said Hawa Hassan, a fourth grader who attended the event.

As the flags were burned in retirement, the day ended with a salute, leaving students with a sense of patriotism.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.