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Local vets ready to celebrate Loyalty Day on May 1

The group included (from left) Wanda Viellieux, Patriotic Instructor for New Richmond Memorial Auxiliary of VFW Post 10818; Karen Green dressed as Betsy Ross; Mary Simonds dressed as Martha Washington; Rory Gauthier dressed as George Washington; Ron Ebert dressed as Abraham Lincoln; Tia Bismonte dressed as Rosie the Riveter; and Matt Mooi dressed as Uncle Sam. (Photo by Micheal Foley)1 / 2
(From left) State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and State Rep. John Murtha (R-Baldwin) present Vern Loehr (commander of VFW Post 10818) and Jerry Dubois (commander of American Legion Post 80) with a Loyalty Day proclamation from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at the New Richmond City Council meeting on April 14. (Photo by Micheal Foley) 2 / 2

When it comes to national holidays, Loyalty Day is not one that many people would know. However, the New Richmond VFW Post 10818 and Ladies Auxiliary are looking to change that come May 1 when they will hold a series of events to familiarize the community with the holiday.

“The important aspect this year is to educate people about Loyalty Day,” said Post 10818 Patriotic Instructor Wanda Viellieux. “It is not taught in schools, so unless you are familiar with it, you don’t know what it is supposed to mean. It is more of a day of national observance where we pause and reflect on these things that we have and to show the patriotism that we have for our country.”

According to VFW Auxiliary President Mary Simonds, Loyalty Day is a day that focuses on patriotism for the country, regardless of the leadership. It is also an occasion when all American citizens should publicly reaffirm their complete loyalty to America by demonstrating against individuals who advocate the overthrow of our government.

“The Fourth of July and Loyalty Day are similar in their ideas, but the Fourth of July is more about commemorating our independence and Loyalty Day has more of an emphasis on what the Loyalty Day ideals mean to us today and tomorrow,” Viellieux said. “Next year, we are hoping to add a parade with some of the area Legions and VFWs to bring the whole community together for a show of patriotism.”

The idea to hold an event this year was one Viellieux had earlier this year. Even though it might be a quick turnaround to put together the events for this year’s Loyalty Day, Viellieux knew that the event didn’t need to be huge in its first year.

“A couple months ago, Mary had mentioned to me about Loyalty Day, and since we had never learned about it in school, I started to look it up on my own,” Viellieux said. “We talked about what loyalty was and started to look at what other groups have done around the country. I thought that we could do something for Loyalty Day next year, but then I stopped to think and figured that we could still do something this year. We could start small and add to it next year.”

At the New Richmond City Council’s April 14 meeting, Mayor Fred Horne gave a proclamation announcing May 1, 2014, as Loyalty Day. Also present at the event were State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and groups will retire their post flags. The New Richmond VFW Post 10818 and the New Richmond American Legion Post 80 will perform the ceremony together.

“We are encouraging the public and the community to dispose of their flags if they would like because we will have a spot for those flags,” Green said. “We will retire one flag as representative of all the flags because if we have 400 to 500 flags coming in we might be in for a long day. We want to make sure those flags are all retired properly with the respect they deserve. We can also take orders for replacement flags.”

For more information on Loyalty Day, contact Viellieux at 715-246-6867 or email

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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