Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Proclamation 3775—Loyalty Day, 1967

April 06, 1967

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

May 1st, in some parts of the world, is marked by demonstrations in support of totalitarian party dictatorships. Since 1959, we in the United States have celebrated it as "Loyalty Day," a time when we are asked to recall the ideals which have nourished our free society.

The contrast between these two types of celebration is striking. We are not demanding unthinking fealty to a party or a doctrine. On the contrary, allegiance to American ideals demands commitment to a ceaseless search for new routes to freedom, justice and equality.

Our flag then is not just a symbol of our nationhood. It signifies more:

—A profound dedication to a community where the rights of minorities are respected as fully as the rights of the majority, where freedom and order are found in harmonious equilibrium.

The patriot leader John Adams thus felt obliged to defend the British officer accused of instigating the "Boston Massacre." And later noted in his diary that it was his proudest contribution to the tradition of freedom.

Similarly, Abraham Lincoln in 1838 called on "every American, every lover of liberty" to swear "never to violate the laws of the country" or to "tolerate their violation by others" through "mob law."

To an American, then, loyalty is not automatic acceptance of authority but consecration to the principles of a free society.

It imposes restraints on the majority and on minorities alike. The majority must have the right to act, but its actions must follow the course of due process.

Minorities must retain the right to dissent, but should never confuse the right to be heard with the right to determine policy, should never assert the undemocratic and arrogant claim to speak for the society as a whole.

In 1967, Loyalty Day has a special meaning. Far away in Vietnam, our young men are demonstrating by their bravery, and commitment to the freedom of others, the ultimate obligations loyalty can impose.

Loyalty Day 1967 thus becomes an opportunity for the vast majority in America—while respecting the right of dissent—to affirm their conviction that freedom is indivisible, their realization that the cruel burden of war must be carried, and their heartfelt gratitude to those who are risking their lives in harsh witness to our ideals.

If we are to be worthy of their sacrifice, it is vital that we demonstrate our active loyalty to the cause for which they fight. The badge of American loyalty should be more than a uniform.

Enlightened loyalty requires that each citizen take the trouble to learn about, to discuss, to think through, the crucial issues of our time.

Enlightened loyalty demands a commitment by the citizen to the daily life of his society. He must constantly strive to bring American practice into accord with American precepts.

Enlightened loyalty obligates every individual to act and speak in behalf of his beliefs, so the world will not mistake the clamor of dissenting activists for the true voice of the nation.

In recognition of these precepts, the Congress by a joint resolution of July 18, 1958 (72 Stat. 369), designated May 1 of each year as Loyalty Day and requested the President to issue a proclamation inviting the people of the United States to observe each such day with appropriate ceremonies.

Now, Therefore, I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America, do call upon the people of the United States, and upon all patriotic, civic, and educational organizations, to observe Monday, May 1, 1967, as Loyalty Day, with appropriate ceremonies in which all of us may join in a reaffirmation of our loyalty to the United States of America.

I also call upon appropriate officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on that day as a manifestation of our loyalty to the Nation which that flag symbolizes.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this sixth day of April in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-first.

Signature of Lyndon B. Johnson


By the President:


Secretary of State

Lyndon B. Johnson, Proclamation 3775—Loyalty Day, 1967 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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