Basehor VFW Loyalty Day April 29
Loyalty Day, an event designed to reaffirm American citizens' devotion to the country, hasn't been formally recognized by the Basehor Veterans of Foreign Wars post since its inception in 1958.
But that streak ends late this month.
Fred Box, commander of VFW Post 11499, announced this week that local veterans from every war since World War II will host a Loyalty Day event Saturday, April 29, in front of Basehor-Linwood High School.
"This is the first one we've ever done," Box said. "We've always wanted to do it, but we never had the chance. It's going to be a nice thing. ... It's going to be an annual thing from now on."
The event will kick off at 2 p.m.
Box said local veterans will share their war-time experiences with the public during a "Living History" presentation. Later, "Taps" will be played and a 21-gun salute will be fired.
"It should be quite impressive," Box said.
Local students also will take part in the ceremony.
Basehor-Linwood High School sophomore Tia Oelschlager, who won both local and district awards in the national Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen essay contests, will present her essay, "How I Demonstrate My Freedom."
Middle school students Eric Strick and Justin Nichols, two students who finished second and third, respectively, out of 90 competitors in the VFW-sponsored Patriot's Pen essay contest, also will present their work during Loyalty Day.
Loyalty Day's tradition dates back to 1949, when veterans from VFW posts across the country began lobbying Congress to establish the holiday. It was created, according to the national VFW in Kansas City, Mo., as a countermeasure to May Day, which Communists groups used as a day to demonstrate against their western, democratic counterparts.
In 1955, Congress approved May 1 as Loyalty Day. Three years later, Congress adopted Public Law 529, thus establishing each May 1 as Loyalty Day.