Most Americans are unaware of the origins of Loyalty Day, which has been a legal holiday since July 18, 1958.
Although the date of origin is unknown, sometime in the late 1920s veterans wanted to challenge what was considered as the "disruptive Communist exhibitions" on May Day throughout the United States. They wanted loyal citizens to assert their American ideals as a way to reaffirm personal patriotism, prevent the growth of communism in America and recognize the sacrifices of currently deployed soldiers and past veterans.
During the 1930s, people organized parades, ceremonies and other patriotic events. Various organizations joined in with extensive letter-writing campaigns to bring attention to the unofficial holiday. Patriotic plays, oratory contests on national issues and tours to national shrines were sponsored by schools, churches, labor unions, fraternal societies, veterans groups and other organized groups throughout the country.
For a while, both Loyalty Day and Americanism Day celebrations took place throughout the country on May 1, but the two ideas soon merged into Loyalty Day.
With World War II on the horizon, loyalty celebrations took hold in America. However, it wasn't until 1949 that organizers in 49 states and territorial governors got together to proclaim the observance of Loyalty Day.
On May 1, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed Loyalty Day as a national observance for citizens to reaffirmation their loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.
Each President since has issued a proclamation calling for the U.S. flag be displayed on all government buildings and inviting citizens to observe Loyalty Day with appropriate ceremonies in schools and other suitable places.
This Saturday, local residents can celebrate Loyalty Day events at the Forest Park Pavilion starting at 10 a.m., and the Loyalty Day Parade along National Avenue starting at 2 p.m.
Loyalty Day Schedule
WHEN: Saturday, May 3
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 No. 762 Pork Chop dinner for veterans and their family members. To make dinner reservations, contact the American Legion Post at 443-8611, VFW Post at 448-8554 or call the Veterans Service Office at 448-9015 through Friday.
National Avenue Parade Route
12 p.m. -- Brazil City Police Department Capt. Dave Archer requests all parked cars be removed from along National Avenue from Depot to Vandalia streets before the parade begins.
1 p.m. -- Line up entries for Loyalty Day Parade west of the corner of Depot Street.
2 p.m. -- Loyalty Day Parade begins
3 p.m. -- Parade trophies awarded at VFW Post 1127, 103 East Jackson Street.