June is Men’s Health Month. It is also the month when we celebrate our fathers with Father’s Day on June 21st and Flag Day on June 14th. This year it seems especially significant that we should be commemorating men’s health, our father’s and our flag at this time.
Recognizing the Men in Our Lives
It seems extremely important right now, as we are experiencing so much, that we take a moment to celebrate all the men in our lives, recognize their contributions, and help them protect their health. We live in the richest nation on earth, with the resources to reduce mortality of male related problems with education and early detection.
Celebrating Our Fathers
Father’s Day was first celebrated in West Virginia in 1908. In 1910 Washington was the first state to have a statewide celebration. However, the concept of a day to celebrate our Fathers was not widely accepted and took time to take hold. It wasn’t until 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge urged the states to celebrate Father’s Day that Father’s Day had presidential support. Even so, Father’s Day did not become a federal holiday until 1972 when Richard Nixon signed a proclamation and made it official. Today, Americans spend more than a billion dollars a year on Father’s Day gifts.
Education for Better Health
On May 31st, 1994 President Bill Clinton signed the bill establishing Men’s Health Week. Men’s Week is celebrated the week leading up to and including Father’s Day. The resolution outlines many different facts and statistics about Men’s Health in America including:
- The death rate for prostate cancer has grown at almost twice the death rate of breast cancer in the last five years
- African-American men in the United States have the highest incidence in the world of cancer of the prostate
- Educating both the public and health care providers about the importance of early detection of male health problems will result in reducing rates of mortality for these diseases
- Appropriate use of tests such as Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) exams, blood pressure screens, cholesterol screens, etc., in conjunction with clinical examination and self-testing for problems such as testicular cancer can result in the detection of many of these problems in their early stages and increases in the survival rates to nearly 100 percent
- Many men are reluctant to visit their health center or physician for regular screening examinations of male related problems for a variety of reasons including fear, lack of information, and cost factors
- Men who are educated about the value that preventive health can play in prolonging their lifespan and their role as a productive family member will be more likely to participate in health screenings
A New Nation, A New Flag
When the American revolution began, the colonists were not fighting under a single flag, but were participating in the war under their regimental flags. In June of 1775 the Second Continental Congress met to create the Continental Army which lead to the creation of the Continental Colors. Unfortunately, the Continental Colors were very similar to the Union Jack and did not build confidence in the troops.
On June 14th, 1777 the Second Continental Congress took a break from writing the articles of confederation and passed a resolution about what our new flag should look like. They determined that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white,” and that “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
In 1885 Bernard Cigrand of Wisconsin proposed the idea that flag day be celebrated every June 14th. And, in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson officially established June 14th as Flag Day.
Navigating through Change
As we navigate our way through a pandemic and a new normal, that is constantly changing it’s important to take a moment to take stock and to celebrate. To take stock of the moment, our health and the people in our lives. To celebrate the men in our lives who are positive role models, who inspire us, who teach us, who lead us and who stand by our sides supporting us. It’s also time to take stock of our communities and recognize that we are all united by one flag. To celebrate that our flag represents a country that allows us, the people, to create and drive change.