Apr. 29, 2015

By Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware)

It was a great honor for me to serve in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. Because of that experience, I understand the sacrifice and reward that comes with taking the ultimate risk to safeguard our communities and our country.
The experience also gave me a deep pride in my country, and each year, I look forward to Loyalty Day. This year, House Resolution 257 designates May 1 as Loyalty Day in Pennsylvania. The resolution was adopted on April 22.
Since the early 1930s, May 1 was unofficially celebrated as Loyalty Day, but it was not until 1949 that the observance of Loyalty Day was proclaimed, thanks in large part to the efforts of Rep. James E. Van Zandt of Pennsylvania. On May 1, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower finally made it a day of national observance.
It is celebrated every year on May 1. As such, the president of the United States annually issues a proclamation calling on officials to proudly display the U.S. flag on all government buildings this day, and citizens and elected officials are encouraged to observe this day in schools and in their communities.
As majority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, I believe that Loyalty Day is about honoring individuals who act selflessly and patriotically. These people perform duties that are essential to the endurance of our amazing country: police officers, firefighters, emergency responders, veterans and, of course, our active duty personnel. These great heroes who protect us all over the country deserve recognition and our highest respect.
We know that we can always count on them; they will be there for us when we need it most, and that means a great deal. These heroes are the most dependable of all, whether they’re saving lives, fighting fires or defending us oversees. For acting for others in time of crisis, I salute and thank our police officers, firefighters, emergency responders, veterans and active duty personnel.
But in America, our “ordinary” citizens are pretty special, too. I am inspired by the resilient, courageous and persevering spirit of my fellow citizens; the American spirit is an incredible asset. In times of hardship, Americans always pulls together. They are quick to help others in need without expectation of anything in return. Americans work hard for what they want.
We can never take for granted all we enjoy as American citizens. This land is filled with opportunity and promise. We are lucky to enjoy religious freedoms that many others throughout the world do not. This is truly a country unlike any other.
On Loyalty Day, I call to mind the commitment patriotism demands and reflect on how blessed I am to be a citizen of this nation. The United States truly is the best country in the world, and I am proud to be a loyal citizen. I wave my American flag with the greatest pride anyone can have.