PA VFW to Hold Patriotic “U.S. Loyalty Day” on May 1
WHAT: PA Veterans of Foreign Wars “U.S. Loyalty Day” to Celebrate Freedom
WHEN: Wednesday, May 1, 10 a.m.WHERE: State Capitol/East Rotunda
The Pennsylvania Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars will hold its annual Loyalty to America Day event on Wednesday, May 1, starting at 10 a.m. in the East Rotunda of the State Capitol building. VFW combat veterans and the PA VFW Auxiliary will lead a celebration of the U.S. flag, freedom, the role veterans have played in preserving freedom, troops who defend freedom today and the liberties made possible by democracy. The program is expected to last about 45 minutes.
State officials, veterans and military representatives will participate in the program. The Keynote Speaker is PA Adjutant General Anthony Carrelli, who commands the state’s National Guard and oversees the state’s veterans benefit programs. Governor Tom Wolf has been invited to participate as well as leaders of the State House of Representatives and State Senate.
A 21-gun salute will be held honoring those who have lost their lives while serving in the military. A photo opportunity for veterans and government officials is scheduled immediately after the event.
Loyalty Day originally began as “Americanization Day” in 1921 to counter the Communists’ May 1 celebration of the Russian Revolution. Through a resolution adopted in 1949, May 1st evolved into Loyalty Day.
Observances began in 1950 on April 28 and climaxed May 1 when more than five million people across the nation held rallies. In 1958, Congress enacted Public Law 529 proclaiming Loyalty Day a permanent fixture on the nation’s calendar. VFW State HQ and local VFW Posts hold events on May 1st.
“This event will inspire everyone to celebrate the powerful and unique ideals that make living in America so special. Many people take freedom for granted, and they forget that around the world instability threatens to take freedom away from millions of people,” said VFW State Commander Thomas Hanzes, a Vietnam War veteran, who will also speak.
“We are very blessed in America to have freedom and a form of representative government. We may not all agree on issues of the day, but we value our right to freely bear arms, speak our minds and vote for the nation’s leaders. We appreciate those have protected, and those today who protect, our freedoms including many who died defending what our nation stands for.”
The PA Department of VFW consists of 72,000 members in 420 posts throughout the Commonwealth. PA VFW organizations annually donate more than $15 million combined in financial donations and volunteer community service.
The State VFW, through its Veterans Service Officers, connected veterans with $30 million in federal benefits last year through free assistance, made possible in part by a PA Act 66 grant. Nationally, the VFW helped veterans receive more than $4 billion in federal benefits last year and have provided 1,287 student veterans with scholarships totaling $5.7 million.
State HQ hopes that many VFW districts, posts and individual members will attend the event. Shuttle vans will run from State HQ in Harrisburg to the State Capitol. Call State HQ for more information on when the vans will begin and return to the VFW office. Attendees also have the option of driving into Harrisburg and using one of the many parking garages close to the Capitol complex. Large groups are encouraged to organize their own transportation.