GRAFTON—Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3081 Auxiliary hosted their annual Loyalty Day observance, on Sunday, April 28 at the post home.
On the 60th Anniversary of the revered holiday, Mayor Peggy Barney read and signed a proclamation, urging individuals to take part in Loyalty Day 2019, which was celebrated across the nation on Wednesday, May 1.
The proclamation stated that the citizens of Grafton are extremely proud of the nation’s more than 200-year heritage of freedom and are loyal to the ideals, traditions and institutions which have made the nation great.
“I Peggy Knotts Barney, Mayor of the City of Grafton, do hereby ca upon all of my fellow citizens to take full advantage of the special occasion, known as Loyalty Day,” read Barney. “I urge all individuals, schools, churches, organizations, business establishments and homes within my official jurisdiction, to display proudly the flag of the United States, and participate in public patriotic Loyalty Day activities, which are to be co-sponsored by the VFW and the Auxiliary.”
Post members and guests were treated to lunch, followed by a presentation by this year’s honored speaker, 19th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Shawn Nines, on the history of the holiday.
“I want to start by telling you about my day yesterday. I mowed my grass and played with my children. I did that in relative safety, on property that I own, living less than 5,000 feet from where I grew up. I was able to do all of those things mainly because the country I live in,” Nines shared.
He voiced that those simple things we take for granted here are not able to be carried out in other parts of the world.
“The freedoms we enjoy, we often take for granted. Part of that is why Loyalty Day was started in the first place,” Nines voiced.
According to Nines, Loyalty Day was started in 1921, to counter the Communists’ celebration of the Russian Revolution. Originally called Americanization Day, the goal of the day was to bring citizens from a multitude of backgrounds and cultures together, to honor their freedoms and show their loyalty to the United States.
“The VFW has been instrumental in the creation of the holiday,” Nines revealed. “On May 1, 1930, 10,000 members rallied in New York. By 1950, that number had grown into a 5-million-person rally.”
On April 27, 1955, the name was officially changed, and then, on July 18, 1958, a resolution was enacted proclaiming Loyalty Day as a permanent fixture on the calendar as a nationally recognized holiday.
“Loyalty Day is for everyone, not just those who have served. It is a day for all Americans to take a moment to fully recognize the freedoms that are often taken for granted,” Nines expressed.
During his talk, Nines touched on the number of veterans throughout the nation, as well as here in Taylor County. He also talked mentioned the Taylor County Honor Guard and their service to fallen veterans.
“No matter the day, time or weather conditions, they can be seen loading up and going to the service of a fellow veteran,” said Nines. “This is loyalty!”
He said every service the Honor Guard attends is a burial of a hero. He also touched on the community’s outpouring of support and coming together to honor the late Command Sergeant Major Timothy Bolyard last September.
“It was such a tragedy for our area, but at the same time, it brought out the best in our community,” Nines voiced. “So that brings me back to my opening remarks about my day yesterday. I was able to mow my lawn and play with my kids. That’s something that Tim will never get to do, but he did what he did for us, so that we would be able to.”
He closed by reminding those in attendance that each and every day, they should be thankful to life in a nation where they can do things in a free manner and without fear.
“So, fly your flag, thank a veteran, always speak well of the United States, always speak well of our ideals and always speak well of our people,” Nines imparted.