Crying Mayday on Loyalty Day

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Betsi Fores The Daily Caller News Foundation
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In ancient times, “May Day” was an innocent holiday celebrated by young children gathering baskets of flowers to anonymously leave in their communities for teachers or elderly neighbors. But what was formerly a pagan ritual day has surfaced in many different social constructs to celebrate both labor movements and, in reaction, national loyalty.

The obscure national holiday Loyalty Day was originally intended to counter labor movement holidays as a day to remember America’s unique heritage. Later, it was written into law to ensure America didn’t devolve into its hated enemy — the Soviet Union.

On May 1, 1917, the Russian Revolution shocked the European continent. In response, the Veterans of Foreign Wars began promoting “Americanization Day” as a way to counter May Day and its socialist connection. On May 1, 1930, 10,000 VFW members stood outside Union Square in New York City to promote patriotism.

“Americanization Day” became known as “Loyalty Day” in 1949 through a resolution adopted by the New York Legislature. Observances continued throughout the U.S. during the 1950s, and in 1958, Congress passed Public Law 529 officially recognizing Loyalty Day as a national holiday.

In the first Loyalty Day proclamation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote that “loyalty to the United States of America… is essential to the preservation of our freedoms in a world threatened by totalitarianism,” adding that citizens should renew their “dedication to the concepts of the freedom and dignity of man.”

Each year since 1958, the president has issued a proclamation commemorating American heritage and imploring citizens to raise the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance and show their patriotism.

This year, President Barack Obama released his “requested” proclamation announcing Loyalty Day on May 1. The proclamation asked that, “On Loyalty Day, we rededicate ourselves to the common good, to the cornerstones of liberty, equality, and justice, and to the unending pursuit of a more perfect union.”

Though the president has been a critic of the Constitution in the past, his statement cited the steadfastness of the founding document, adding that it  “has always guided our course toward fulfilling that most noble promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve the chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

America is not the sole celebrator of such a loyalty day. Argentina also celebrates one in remembrance of a massive labor strike on Oct. 17, 1945. The holiday serves as the foundation for the political movement “Peronism” — an ideology that rejects both capitalism and communism while espousing corporatism.

Fun fact — President Eisenhower also declared May 1st “Law Day”– something the Occupiers surely didn’t seem to observe.

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