May 1, 1959: First Loyalty Day

One of the more obscure annual observances in the US, and its obscurity is to be lamented, began 59 years ago:


By the President of the United States of America
A ProclamationWhereas loyalty to the United States of America, its democratic traditions and institutions, and the liberties embodied in our Constitution is essential to the preservation of our freedoms in a world threatened by totalitarianism; and

Whereas it is fitting and proper that we reaffirm by special observance our loyalty to our country and our gratitude for the precious heritage of freedom and liberty under law; and

Whereas the Congress, by a joint resolution of July 18, 1958 (72 Stat. 369), has designated May 1 of each year as Loyalty Day, and has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies:

Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon the people of the United States, and upon all patriotic, civic, educational, and other interested organizations, to observe Friday, May 1, 1959, as Loyalty Day, in schools and other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies in which all of our people may join in the reaffirmation of their loyalty to the United States and the renewal of their dedication to the concepts of the freedom and dignity of man.

I also direct the appropriate officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on that day.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this eighteenth day of April in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-third.


By the President:
Acting Secretary of State

Presidents still issue Loyalty Day Proclamations, although that seems to be the only noteworthy observation of the day.  I wish we had the loyalty to this country that most of the men who fought in the Crusade in Europe, as Eisenhower called it, had.


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