Members of the Nesquehoning VFW Post 8008 and the Ladies Auxiliary celebrated Loyalty Day on Wednesday. Originally known as Americanization Day, Loyalty Day was recognized as an official holiday by the Congressional Act 85-529 of 1958. It was established as a special day to counterbalance May Day, which the Communists were using for their annual hate demonstrations against the United States.

Lee Thear, senior vice commander of the Post, served as the master of ceremonies, and Nesquehoning Mayor Tony Walck read the Loyalty Day proclamation. Ted Dacey, Post chaplain, provided the invocation.

Carbon County Veterans Affairs representative Henry Desrosiers spoke to the crowd on the importance of Loyalty Day. Desrosiers thanked the members of Post 8008 and the Ladies Auxiliary for their Loyalty Day observation.

"It is a tribute to your dedication and your patriotism among your members," said Desrosiers. "There is no other community in northeast Pennsylvania that is holding an affair today.

"Cinco de Mayo comes up all of the time, which is a sad state of affairs," he added.

"Loyalty Day is a day recognized so that all citizens are encouraged to reflect on the freedoms we have; to support democracy and to honor those who protect America," said Desrosiers.

"The definition of Loyalty Day is a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom," he added.

He also noted that while Loyalty Day is a legal holiday, it is not a federal one and is not commonly observed.

He then asked citizens of Carbon County to remember to show their loyalty on May 1 every year by flying the American flag, saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, singing the national anthem and to wear an American flag pin to honor our country.

"America supports her people, and her people must support her. Be proud of your freedom, be proud of your country and do not be afraid to say that you are proud to be an American. We all know that freedom is worth protecting," said Desrosiers.

In closing, he asked citizens to take time to appreciate the members of our armed services who are "displaying the ultimate in loyalty and serves to protect our freedoms, our liberty and our way of life."

As part of the Loyalty Day services, several awards were presented.

Award recipients are as follows: Regular member, Rick Ellis; Veteran social, Frank Maurer; Social member, Ron Berchock; Auxiliary member, Maureen Hirochek; Business award, Balliet Insurance Agency; and Special award, Rep. Doyle Heffley.

The Voice of Democracy awards were presented to Ethan Vermillion, first place; Brooke Turner, second place; and Steven Reehl, third place.