Although observed for 87 years and a legal holiday since July 18, 1958, most Americans are unaware of the special day, May 1, set aside to recognize the sacrifices of currently deployed soldiers and past veterans and reaffirm personal patriotism.
"(Clay County) residents have always showed such great support for veterans," Veterans Service Officer and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1127 Commander Les Walden said recently. "Loyalty Day, May 3, has a lot of things going on for the public, soldiers, families of currently deployed soldiers and veterans."
This year's program at the Forest Park Pavilion, with "Support Our Troops" as the theme, will have a special tribute.
Walden said soldiers currently deployed, and those preparing for deployment, along with their families will be recognized, especially their children.
"This year we're doing something special, the children of our soldiers will be the Grand Marshals of our Loyalty Day Parade," Walden said. "It is so important to also support the families left behind when soldiers are deployed."
A recent donation by The Christmas In The Park group will allow for small gifts to be presented to the families in attendance. Gifts and certificates of appreciation will also be presented during a recognition ceremony for veterans.
"A little something to say thanks for their sacrifice," Walden said.
Afterwards, Walden said all Clay County veterans (and their families) are invited to attend the ceremony and a free pork chop dinner provided by the Brazil Elks Lodge No. 762 at the pavilion.
"It's the sixth year the Elks have provided the meal," Walden said. "People planning to attend the dinner need to make their reservations early so that we know how many pork chops to cook."
To make reservations, contact the American Legion Post at 443-8611, the VFW Post at 448-8554 or call the Veterans Service Office at 448-9015.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
WHAT: Loyalty Day Activities May 3, 2008
WHERE: Forest Park Pavilion and Downtown Brazil
* Forest Park Pavilion
10 a.m. -- Program begins in park pavilion with patriotic music provided by Jackson Township Band, under the direction of Matt Huber
10:30 a.m. -- Recognition of area soldiers who are currently or have served in Southwest Asia in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and other Desert Storm countries
11:30 a.m. -- Brazil Elks Lodge #762 Pork Chop dinner for veterans and their family members
* National Avenue
1 p.m. -- Line up entries for Loyalty Day Parade west of corner of Depot Street and
2 p.m. -- Loyalty Day Parade begins
3 p.m. -- Parade trophies awarded at VFW Post 1127, 103 East Jackson Street