Mayor Ed Bolt designates Shawnee a Purple Heart City, sets Loyalty Day with new proclamations

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Mayor Ed Bolt reads a proclamation for Loyalty Day, as Shawnee Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 1317 Honor Guard Commander Don Plumley listens during Shawnee City Commission Monday night.

Signing two proclamations this week, Mayor Ed Bolt designated Shawnee a Purple Heart City and named Saturday, May 1, 2021, Loyalty Day.

During the Shawnee City Commission meeting, with a gallery of residents, Bolt read the proclamations in honor of locals who have served their country, as Shawnee Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 1317 Honor Guard Commander Don Plumley stood as representative to accept the public expression of gratitude.

“The City of Shawnee appreciates the sacrifices our Purple Heart recipients made in defending our freedoms and acknowledges those men and women for their courage by showing our support and honor,” Bolt said. “The citizens of Shawnee have great admiration and gratitude for the men and women who have selflessly served their country and this community in the Armed Forces.”

What is the Purple Heart award?

The Purple Heart was the first American service award or decoration made available to the common soldier and is specifically awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat. It is the oldest military decoration in present use and was initially created as the Badge of Military Merit by General George Washington in 1782.

On May 1, 1958, Loyalty Day was first declared nationally by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Congress approved, designating it an annual observance through a joint resolution.

“Loyalty to America is born of appreciation, faithfulness, pride and an understanding of our founding principles,” the proclamation reads. “The founding principles of this great nation have served to provide prosperity, liberty, and justice to more people than in all of prior human history.”

Bolt said, reading the document, “We as citizens of this great nation reaffirm our commitment to these historic principles, and recognize the responsibility of fellowship within our community. We as citizens strive to remain civil and respectful of each other and remain faithful to liberty and justice for all.”

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.