2017-2018 National Americanism Ambassador
Spring is here and now is the time to rejuvenate and bring fresh ideas to both students and teachers. Visit schools and share ways to spread patriotism; educate youth about the meaning of upcoming patriotic holidays, and talk about the volunteer work the Auxiliary does and why it’s important to serve those who served our country. Below are four upcoming patriotic holidays and ways to commemorate these days.
Gold Star Spouses Day – April 5
On April 5, 1945, a group of four widows met in New York City. One week later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died and shortly after, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt joined the organization. Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. was chartered as a non-profit organization in December 1945.
Gold Star Wives Day was first commemorated on December 18, 2010, through a Senate resolution with support from the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. It is a day to remember and pay respect to the surviving husbands and wives of the Fallen of the U.S. Armed Forces and thank them for all they’ve given. Since 2012, the Senate has passed a resolution designating April 5 as Gold Star Wives Day. Per recent guidance by the Department of the Army, this day is now observed as Gold Star Spouses Day.
Remember the spouses of the fallen by sending a card, making a phone call or visiting them in person. Treat them to coffee and ask them to share stories about their spouse who gave their life for us and our nation.
Arbor Day – Last Friday in April (April 27)
One holiday I will always remember acknowledging as a teenager that I do not hear much about these days is Arbor Day. Arbor Day was a huge event in my community. We would plant trees and place an American Flag beside each tree as a living memorial to deceased veterans that served our great country with honor and valor.
Arbor Day (arbor – Latin word meaning tree) is the holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees. In 1970, President Nixon proclaimed National Arbor Day the last Friday in April (Arbor Day falls on April 27, 2018 this year). Today, 24 states and Washington, D.C. recognize that date. Most state holidays are observed in the spring but dates vary to coincide with climate and the best tree planting weather. The observance began in 1872 when Nebraska settlers and Homesteaders were urged to plant trees on their largely treeless plains. More than a million trees were planted on April 10, 1872. By 1907 every state in the union observed Arbor Day, principally through school programs. Through these celebrations school children were urged to plant trees as a patriotic event as well as a sound investment and a contribution to the community. (Source: Wikipedia)
Encourage your Auxiliary to participate in your community’s Arbor Day events. If your community doesn’t celebrate Arbor Day or host public events, consider hosting one! Visit the Arbor Day Foundation for ways to celebrate.
Loyalty Day – May 1
Loyalty Day is a day set aside for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for recognizing the heritage of American freedom. Loyalty Day originally began as “Americanization Day” in 1921 as a counter to the Communists’ May 1 celebration of the Russian Revolution. On May 1, 1930, 10,000 VFW members staged a rally at New York’s Union Square to promote patriotism. Through a resolution adopted in 1949, May 1 evolved into Loyalty Day. Observances began on April 28, 1950, and culminated May 1, when more than five million people across the nation held rallies. In New York City, more than 100,000 people rallied for America. In 1958, Congress enacted Public Law 529 proclaiming Loyalty Day a permanent fixture on the nation’s calendar.
On Loyalty Day, we reaffirm our allegiance to our country and resolve to uphold the vision of our forefathers. Many Posts and Auxiliaries host and participate in special events across the country including parades and school programs. Please take a moment on this day to publicly acknowledge the members of our armed forces who are displaying the ultimate in loyalty and service to protect our freedoms, liberty and way of life.
Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) – May 8
Victory in Europe Day (commonly known as V-E Day), marks the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces, therefore marking the end of World War II. On April 30, Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin. Germany’s surrender, therefore, was authorized by his successor, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz. The act of military surrender was signed on May 7 in Reims, France and on May 8 in Berlin, Germany. Upon defeat of Germany (Italy having already surrendered), cheers could be heard throughout the world. In the United States, the victory happened on President Harry Truman’s 61st birthday, and massive celebrations took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and New York.
If you have a WWII veteran and/or spouse in your community, ask them to speak at an Auxiliary meeting or event about what they recall about this historic day. If they are unable to speak at an event, ask if a member can share their recollection with others.
REPORT! REPORT! REPORT! All of you do something to promote Americanism and patriotism in your Auxiliary and/or community on a daily basis. It is so important to report all of your volunteer work so you get the credit you deserve!
Thank you for all that you do for our nation’s heroes, our veterans.