by Mayor Laurene Weste
“You're a grand old flag, you're a high-flying flag, and forever in peace may you wave. You're the emblem of the land I love, the home of the free and the brave.”
- You’re a Grand Old Flag, a spirited march by George M. Cohan
Those patriotic words were penned back in 1906 by George M. Cohan for a stage musical titled, George Washington, Jr. According to the Library of Congress, these lyrics were inspired by a chance meeting that Cohan had with a Civil War veteran, who fought at Gettysburg. Cohan commented upon the ragged American flag the man had carefully folded and was holding to his chest. The man said, “She’s a grand old rag.” This inspired Cohan and was the original title of the song, but many objected to calling our patriotic flag, a rag, so he “gave ’em what they wanted,” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” is how the song is still sung today.
That same American pride will be on display right here in Santa Clarita, on the Fourth of July, as our much-loved hometown parade marches through City streets. This year’s theme…It’s a Grand Old Flag. I urge all of you to don your red, white and blue and join us to experience the historic legacy that is Santa Clarita’s Fourth of July parade.
The parade, which kicked off the proud tradition that we enjoy today, was first held in 1932. The theme was “Old Time,” and parade participants included ranchers, cowboys and even a mule team. The 2018 parade will pay homage to its roots with equestrians, carriages, classic cars and of course, lots of “Grand Old Flags.”
Although we are the third largest City in Los Angeles County, we have managed to maintain a unique sense of community and hometown feel. This will once again be evident in this year’s parade as thousands of our residents will line City streets to cheer on our Cub Scouts, marching bands, kids, cheerleaders, local car clubs and so many more!
This year’s Fourth of July parade will begin at 9 a.m., in Old Town Newhall, and will continue west down Lyons Avenue. For more information please visit SCVParade.com.
Later that evening take your loved ones and find a spot where you can enjoy the fireworks spectacular from Westfield Valencia Town Center. The show kicks off at 9:15 p.m. and will be accompanied by a live broadcast from KHTS AM 1220.
Did you know that it was our founding father John Adams who called for fireworks to be part of our Independence Day festivities? In a letter he wrote on July 3, 1776, he envisioned the holiday being celebrated “with Pomp and Parade, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other, from this Time forward forever more.”
Of course at that time, firing off cannons and guns was a form of celebration. We want to remind you that all fireworks are illegal in the City of Santa Clarita. For the sake of public safety, we encourage everyone to enjoy the free, professional fireworks show at the mall.
This is for your own safety - fireworks can result in serious burn injuries, loss of limbs or even death. Also for the safety of others – the loud noises can be particularity traumatizing to our veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and to our pets. Fireworks are also a serious danger to our dry hillsides, washes and canyons. We know all too well how fast a fire can spread in our Valley.
I would like to wish you and your family a happy and safe Fourth of July. To our veterans and those currently serving our country – thank you for your service and thank you for our freedom.
“Ev'ry heart beats true, 'neath the Red, White and Blue, Where there's never a boast or brag. Should auld acquaintance be forgot, Keep your eye on the grand old flag.”
Mayor Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.