Yesterday was Loyalty Day.
Why have I never heard of this holiday? It’s been an official holiday since 1958, when Congress passed a law declaring it a day to remember loyalty to our country and its founding principles.
On May 1, 1959, President Eisenhower issued the first Presidential “Loyalty Day” proclamation, and every successive President has followed suit. I took a moment to compare some of the proclamations issued by four subsequent Presidents, and suddenly, the idea of a new Voices of the Tea Party e-book topic came to mind: How have conceptions of “loyalty to America” changed since 1959?
Why not compare the highlights of the Loyalty Day proclamations of John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and tell me if you see any dramatic differences.
For over two centuries, Americans have looked with pride and devotion on a Nation that reflects its people’s highest moral aspirations. On this day, we celebrate our brave men and women in uniform and honor those who gave their lives to keep our country safe and free. We also reflect on the contributions of patriotic civilians united by an understanding that citizenship is not just a collection of rights, but also a set of responsibilities. (Obama likes this phrase–having used it several times in the past.)
Our Nation has never been united simply by blood, birth, or soil, but instead has always been united by the ideals that move us beyond our background and teach us what it means to be Americans. We believe deeply in freedom and self-government, values embodied in our cherished documents and defended by our troops over the course of generations. Our citizens hold the truths of our founding close to their hearts and demonstrate their loyalty in countless ways. We are inspired by the patriotic service of the men and women who wear our Nation’s uniform with honor and decency.
Seldom are we called upon to consciously consider and express loyalty to our Nation and its ideals of liberty. It would be well to do so. The world is filled with tyranny and deprivation. Each of us can thank God that we are living in this blessed land. And when differences arise among us, which is only natural in a free society, we should always remain aware that we are one people, together and indivisible.
Dedication, devotion, and loyalty to our country and to the free democratic precepts upon which it was founded has always been a cherished tradition with our people-from our Founding Fathers to our servicemen now serving in the far-flung corners of the world. Understandably, our people avoid ostentatious displays of patriotic fervor. Nevertheless, in these trying times, when international forces are attempting to undermine and destroy our form of free government and our way of life, it is entirely fitting and proper and in the national interest to set aside a special day each year on which to express our unceasing devotion and loyalty to this Nation.
Mark Kevin Lloyd is the former President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and currently serves as Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He is also the author of ”The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District.” He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .