"During times of terrorism here and abroad, it is even more important that we pause and remember what our flag represents," McKee said.
McKee spoke before a group that included council members Carol Moller and N. Linn Hindershot, Miss Maryland Marina Harrison, the contestants for Miss Maryland and members of Boy Scout Troop 2. The Miss Maryland Pageant begins Thursday night at The Maryland Theatre.
Veteran groups across the country celebrated the holiday. For the 15,000 American Legion posts across the country, the day provides an opportunity to honorably dispose of flags that have become unusable, said Mike Buss, the American Legion's assistant director for Americanism and Children and Youth.
Buss said the flag is significant to veterans.
"When I was abroad and would see (the flag), it would remind me of home and how we are free from oppression," he said.
It is believed that the roots of Flag Day can be traced to Fredonia, Wis., where in 1885, public schoolteacher B.J. Cigrand celebrated June 14 as the flag's birthday. In 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia took up the observance. Ross is believed to have made the first American flag with stars and stripes.
June 14 officially was established as Flag Day through an act of Congress on Aug. 3, 1949, by President Truman.
Flag Day is only celebrated once a year, but those involved emphasized the importance of honoring the flag all year long.
"Every day we have a duty to honor the flag," McKee said.