Law Day Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

  • Published
  • By Capt. Dan Tull
  • SMC Judge Advocate
Fifty years ago, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1 as Law Day, he meant to convey a powerful message to America's totalitarian enemies - that rule of law defended American citizens from the shackles of tyranny and injustice.

Before Law Day was promulgated by President Eisenhower, May 1 was widely known throughout the Marxist world as International Workers' Day - a day marked with showcase parades in Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, and Havana to celebrate the touted superiority of the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat Worker" over American liberty.

Beginning in 1955, the Free World began to take notice of the rapidly growing popularity of International Workers' Day, and on May 1, 1955, in an effort to combat the Marxist propaganda themes of International Workers' Day, Pope Pius the XII declared May 1 as "The Day of Saint Joseph, the Worker." Saint Joseph, a carpenter by trade and the adoptive-father of Jesus, was further named as the patron saint of those oppressed by communism.

President Eisenhower, in similar fashion, established Law Day to underscore the distinction between communities ruled by tyrants and those ruled by law.

President Eisenhower, in his inaugural Law Day address, asserted that, "In a very real sense, the world no longer has a choice between force and law. If a civilization is to survive, it must choose the rule of law."

History has since vindicated President Eisenhower's assertion. The defunct theory of Marxism has fortunately been hastened into oblivion, and the rule of law has been enthusiastically adopted by formerly-totalitarian nations as a cherished replacement for the rule of the bayonet.

Today, on this 50th anniversary of Law Day, let us be thankful that America has had such an enduring respect for the rule of law. Let us also remind ourselves that civilization has a continuing and solemn obligation to uphold the spirit of Law Day by promoting the lofty principle that justice and empowerment should never find their origins through the barrel of a gun.