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Loyalty Day is observed on May 1 in the United States. It is a day set aside for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.
First celebrated in 1921 in Batavia, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, the connection to President Obama becomes clear. Going back even further, Loyalty day has it’s roots in a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration on Tuesday May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago.
These day’s Loyalty Day has morphed into the more palatable sounding May Day. However this year’s May Day celebrations kept true to their historical roots. The May Day rally in Seattle turned violent with police and protesters clashing. In Manhattan’s Union Square, the rally had signs reading, “Down with Capitalism!, We need Communist Revolution!”, and “Revolution — Nothing Less!”
Loyalty Day has standing in Title 36 of the United States Code.
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.
Again Loyalty Day gatherings and protests certainly didn’t hold to the spirit and intent of Title 36 of the United States Code. In Los Angeles, an estimated 50,000, many of whom, undocumented, marched through downtown chanting, , “What do we want? Legalization! When do we want it? NOW!”. In our nations capital a diverse group marched for working class unity. Boston, recovering from the recent bombings, managed to have marchers with signs, stating, “Stop the Raids!” and “Immigrant rights are workers rights”.
This at least the second year that May Day/Loyalty Day marches and protests have turned violent. The “celebration” has turned beyond the origins of Title 36 and the 2013 Presidential Proclamation also seems to have missed the mark.
Presidential Proclamation — Loyalty Day, 2013
LOYALTY DAY, 2013
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In the centuries since America broke from an empire and claimed independence, our people have come together again and again to meet the challenges of a changing world. We have reinvented our cities with advances in science and reformed our markets with new understanding of the forces that guide them. We have fought for freedom in the theater of war and expanded its reach during times of peace. We have revamped and recovered and remade ourselves anew, mindful that when times change, so must we. But with every step forward, we have reaffirmed our faith in the ideals that inspired our founding. We have held fast to the principles at our country’s core: service and citizenship; courage and the common good; liberty, equality, and justice for all.
This is our Nation’s heritage, and it is what we remember on Loyalty Day. It is an occasion that asks something of us as a people: to rediscover those ageless truths our Founders held to be self-evident, and to renew them in our own time. We look back to Americans who did the same, from generation to generation — citizens who strengthened our democracy, organizers who made it broader, service members who gave everything to protect it. These patriots and pioneers remind us that while our path to a more perfect Union is unending, with hope and hard work, we can move forward together.
Today, we rededicate ourselves to that enduring task. We do so knowing our journey is not complete until the promises of our founding documents are made real for every American, regardless of their station in life or the circumstances of their birth. Progress may come slow; the road may be long. But as loyal citizens of these United States, we have the power to set our country’s course. Let us mark this day by pressing on in the march toward lasting freedom and true equality, grateful for the precious rights and responsibilities entrusted to each of us by our forebears.
In order to recognize the American spirit of loyalty and the sacrifices that so many have made for our Nation, the Congress, by Public Law 85-529 as amended, has designated May 1 of each year as “Loyalty Day.” On this day, let us reaffirm our allegiance to the United States of America, our Constitution, and our founding values.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2013, as Loyalty Day. This Loyalty Day, I call upon all the people of the United States to join in support of this national observance, whether by displaying the flag of the United States or pledging allegiance to the Republic for which it stands.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.