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May 1st is a day set aside for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States

and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.

 

Loyalty Day

Loyalty Day is on May 1 each year. It is a special day for people to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States and to recognize the heritage of American freedom. It also falls on the same day as Law Day in the USA.

 

What do people do?

The United States of America was founded by patriots who risked their lives to bring freedom to the nation. The nation’s founders are remembered on Loyalty Day, which is a day when people celebrate their freedom while remembering their responsibilities to continue the legacy of liberty. Loyalty Day is celebrated with parades and ceremonies in several communities across the United States. Schools, churches, and various organizations participate in these events.

Public life

Loyalty Day is an observance but it is not a public holiday in the United States. Schools, post offices, stores and other businesses and organizations are open as usual. Public transport services run to their usual schedules and no extra congestion on highways is to be expected.

Background

Loyalty Day was first observed in 1921 as "Americanization Day" to counterbalance Labour Day on May Day (May 1), celebrated in other parts of the world. On May 1, 1930, about 10,000 Veterans of Foreign War members staged a rally at New York's Union Square to promote patriotism. Through a resolution adopted in 1949, May 1 evolved into Loyalty Day. Observances began on April 28, 1950, and climaxed on May 1 when more than five million people across the nation held rallies. In New York City, more than 100,000 people rallied for America.

On July 18, 1958, the Congress designated May 1 of each year as Loyalty Day to foster loyalty and love of the country. According to the Legal Information Institute, the President is requested to issue a proclamation, calling on United States government officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Loyalty Day, and inviting the people of the United States to observe Loyalty Day with appropriate ceremonies in schools and other suitable places.

History

The holiday was first observed in 1921, during the First Red Scare. It was originally called "Americanization Day," and it was intended to replace the May 1 ("May Day") celebration of the International Workers' Day, which commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago.

During the Second Red Scare, it was recognized by the U.S. Congress on April 27, 1955, and made an official reoccurring holiday on July 18, 1958 (Public Law 85-529). President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1955, the first observance of Loyalty Day. In 1958 Eisenhower urged Congress to move Child Health Day to the First Monday in October, to avoid conflicting with Loyalty Day.  Loyalty Day has been recognized with an official proclamation every year by every president since its inception as a legal holiday in 1958.

Statutory definition

Loyalty Day is defined as follows in 36 U.S.C. § 115:

  • (a) Designation.— May 1 is Loyalty Day.

  • (b) Purpose.— Loyalty Day is a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.

  • (c) Proclamation.— The President is requested to issue a proclamation—

    • (1) calling on United States Government officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on Loyalty Day; and

    • (2) inviting the people of the United States to observe Loyalty Day with appropriate ceremonies in schools and other suitable places.

 

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