Commentary: Loyalty Day shows American pride

By The Rev. Dr. Michaele S. Russell

Although the coronavirus pandemic has changed our country in incredible ways, it cannot change significant dates and meaningful events in our history.  Loyalty Day is still Loyalty Day, so be creative in your observances of honoring this special day during social distancing and staying home.

Friday is the first day of May, and is a very special day of observance for Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliary.  It is designated as Loyalty Day by a Joint Resolution of the U.S. Congress, and since 1958 the president has proclaimed the first day of May of each year as Loyalty Day.  The day is to be set aside as a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States of America and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom. 

President Donald Trump is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon officials of the government to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on such day and inviting the people of the United States to observe Loyalty Day in schools and other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies.  This year we will have to forego the public celebrations and school observances, but we can do something suitable for the times.

The passage of this particular act marked a major highlight in a long history of American achievements by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.  It was a reaction to the communists, who used May Day as a venue to display an annual hate demonstration against the U.S.A., but today Loyalty Day is a reminder to encourage loyal Americans to publicly speak out against individuals who advocate the overthrow of our government.  It is a positive patriotic reaction by citizens to show love and pride of country and our desire to remain free citizens and be willing to defend our freedom.  May first is a day when we pledge ourselves to maintain a free society in which loyalty is respected and encouraged.

So, fly the American flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag, line your Post home side walks with U.S. flags and POW/MIA flags, tell the VFW its Auxiliary’s story, and thank your local police department and elected officials for all they do to maintain peace, law and order in our country and communities.  Fly the U.S. flag on your own property.

New ways to celebrate Loyalty Day can involve the entire family.  It can also be a time of saying “thank you” to all the people who are keeping us safe and serving us during these trying times:  health care providers, police officers and fire departments, nonprofits, average American citizens pitching in wherever and however they can, the entire trucking industry, and government officials.  Remember our veterans, active-duty military and their families who make/made the U.S.A. safe and sacrifice their lives to keep us free.  Decorate your porch, doorway, windows with bunting, flags and whatever patriotic items you may have.  Be creative.  Show your red, white and blue heart.

 May 1st is Loyalty Day.  Show your American pride publicly.  Someone will see it and take it to heart.

 Proud to be An American.

The Rev. Dr. Michaele S. Russell is secretary of Greenwood Memorial VFW Auxiliary 7478.