Immigrants told a Loyalty Day audience today about their experiences in America and talked about their feelings of loyalty to America.
Heavy rain pushed the ceremony for Loyalty Day, originally scheduled at the Rosedale Arch, inside to the Rosedale Middle School gymnasium Saturday morning.
Rudy Padilla, who is in the second generation of his family in America, said many of his family had served in the military. Sometimes people do not understand the history of World War I and II, he added.
Before World War I, Germany tried to get Mexico to come into the war on the side of the Axis, but there were many Mexican-Americans who were loyal to the United States, he said.
He talked about the history of some Mexican-Americans patriots in the U.S. Army during World War I.
Liliane Baraban, a pediatrician originally from Brazil, told the group that “I needed America, and I felt America needed me, too.”
When she came to America, she became involved in many activities, including education and volunteer work.
She advised other immigrants to give themselves first to their country.
“Embrace America and America will embrace you back,” she said.
In World War I, the British recruited soldiers from India, including many Sikhs, and from 80,000 to 90,000 Indians were killed during the war, according to Amar Singh.
While it may seem to some observers of the news that America is coming apart, with divisions among various groups, Singh felt that the United States is sticking together in common goals.
He made a reference to a recent hate crime against Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian engineer who was killed in Olathe, and said one misguided man shot another person, and then a third man came up to assist a man who was shot.
“Even though it may look like we are different, when push comes to shove, we are the same,” Singh said.
He said soldiers were fighting not for any particular segment of America, but just trying to protect all of America.
Originally the program was scheduled at the Rosedale Arch, which was built in 1923, after the end of World War I, and is a miniature version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The VFW Department of Kansas, 2nd District, selected the arch as the site for the Loyalty Day Celebration for the Greater Kansas City area.
Because this year is the centennial for the U.S. entry into World War I, program organizers decided to highlight the legacy of World War I veterans, many of whom were immigrants, said Greg Goode, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 7348, Louisburg Kansas.
Their stories recognized the same type of effort of the immigrants who fought in World War I, and there is that same loyalty to America happening today, he said.
Goode’s grandfather’s name is on the list of the soldiers that are honored as World War I veterans.
Loyalty Day has been proclaimed every year since 1958 by every president of the United States, Goode said.
The Loyalty Day celebration here was coordinated by the VFW Post 7348, the Rosedale Development Association and the Unified Government.