Celebrate Flag Day
Celebrate the birthday of Philadelphia's Civic Flag every March 27!
McCook The Reverend Doctor Henry C. McCook (1837-1911)

Back in 1894, Rev. Dr. Henry C. McCook wrote a letter to then mayor, Edwin S. Stuart, suggesting that Philadelphia adopt a civic flag as a means of promoting civic pride. "The display and constant use of a Philadelphia Civic Flag would act towards the strengthening of civic pride, precisely as similar use of the National Flag tends to foster a spirit of national loyalty."

McCook's efforts proved fruitful. On March 27, 1895, an official civic flag was ordained by city council, designed using drawings McCook included in his letter.

Founders Vision

Partners For Civic Pride

In 1998 Brenda Exon discovered that Philadelphia has a flag. These are her thoughts at that time:

I see an opportunity for a citywide “ Philly FLAG Campaign” to promote civic pride via the Philadelphia Civic Flag with its meaningful motto and powerful symbols. This new “civic experiment ” may foster the spirit of the original Holy Experiment of William Penn, who named his new, green country town, Brotherly Love, believing that a city founded with Love will be a good and just place to live.

I wondered:

  • If a city civic flag, with a meaningful message, is INTEGRATED into the TOTAL fabric of the City’s activities @ schools, sporting events, concerts, restaurants, businesses, organizations, religious institutions, and especially households, will it work as a UNIFYING CONNECTOR to unite that city – especially in a large metropolitan population? The designer of the Philly FLAG, Rev. Dr. Henry C. McCook, believed this was possible!
  • If a city civic flag is given a DESIGNATED DAY, ANNUALLY, to be recognized and celebrated as a UNIVERSAL CONNECTOR, will citizens come together, on that day, to renew their commitment to making that city better in their own unique way in the coming year?
  • If citizens are given the opportunity to celebrate their civic flag and to make an annual commitment to the motto it displays, will this boost civic pride and result in a safer, kinder, more caring urban environment?
  • What would an annual celebration look like, with input from the citizenry? Could a nonprofit organization find the necessary funding to produce an annual citywide event, plus educational materials to educate the citizens, year round, to build excitement and encourage involvement in the event?
  • Has there ever been a “PROUD TO BE PHILADELPHIAN” curriculum in the schools to articulate and celebrate, I AM PHILADELPHIAN?
  • By connecting Philadelphians to the knowledge and meaningful message of their flag, I believe a positive, tangible outcome would result and be measurable, ultimately, unifying Philadelphians as only a flag can do! The measurable outcome could be as simple as a tally of Philly FLAGs flying on homes, schools, and business at the beginning of the campaign and then a yearly tally every March 27 th! Then look at the dropout rate, crime rate, etc…. Has there been improvement? Is there any correlation?

I believe this is worth my time pursuing. I shall create a new civic character to spread the word, “Philly has a flag!” That new character shall be The Philly Pride Lady! YEAH! YEAH! This is a magnificent city, and I can’t wait to celebrate it, and the Brotherly Love spirit it was founded upon, with all Philadelphians… We can be united by LOVE via our Philly FLAG! Let the new Civic Experiment begin!