Never heard of the holiday celebrated every May 1 since 1958? You're not alone. But with its roots firmly in bucking communism and, yes, the Russians, Loyalty Day is as American as apple pie and as anti-communist as "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Most recently recognized in an official proclamation by President Joe Biden, Loyalty Day was celebrated even before becoming an honest-to-God legal holiday in 1958.
Before its 1955 name change to Loyalty Day, it was dubbed Americanization Day in 1921 and founded essentially out of fear -- or maybe just a load of good capitalist feelings sparked by the First Red Scare as the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia coincided with a growing U.S. labor movement and fears of anarchists.
As the Second Red Scare swept the American consciousness in 1955, Congress moved to mark the date, giving it its peppier "Loyalty Day" name and putting it as a one-time event on the 1955 calendar.
"The 1st day of May 1955 is hereby designated as Loyalty Day and is set aside as a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States of America and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom," the law said.
Then, in 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower gave his approval to a House Resolution annually recognizing May 1 as Loyalty Day and a "special special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States of America and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom."
Take that, Commies.
And since then, it's been all Loyalty Day, all the time. Every president regardless of party has every year since then issued a proclamation officially marking the date.
"Today, we salute the Americans whose hard work and sacrifice have strengthened our Nation in common cause -- including veterans who have defended our country in uniform; abolitionists, suffragists, activists, and advocates who have helped deliver the full promise of America to more Americans; workers and entrepreneurs whose ingenuity and vision have helped expand the possibilities of life in our Nation; and countless others who have made America a beacon of hope for people throughout the world," Biden said in his 2022 Loyalty Day proclamation.
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