President Obama Cites Stonewall Rebellion In Annual Loyalty Day Proclamation
In what is almost certainly a presidential first, President Obama highlighted an historic gay rights riot as he issued the annual “Loyalty Day” proclamation Thursday. In the presidential decree, Mr. Obama said it was “the understanding that our Union is a constant work in progress that guided our forebears through places like Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall.” Stonewall is a reference to riots in New York City in 1969 by the gay community against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, an event credited with starting the modern fight for LGBT rights in the U.S. “As a nation, we know the journey to perfect our union is unending, and we are strong enough to be self-critical,” Mr. Obama wrote in the proclamation. “On Loyalty Day, we reaffirm the belief that loving this great nation requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the willingness to speak out for what is right and to recognize that change depends on our actions, our attitudes, and the values we teach our children.”RELATED: Loyalty Day is a Cold War-era holiday made official by Congress in 1958. It was first observed in 1921 in opposition to International Workers' Day, which commemorates the May 1886 bombing of a labor protest at Chicago's Haymarket Square. The Chicago incident is remembered as Labor Day or May Day in most of the world today. Last year The Week denounced Loyalty Day as a "jingoistic piece of commie-bashing."