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1855 - Sanford & Cyrus Lyon establish Lyon's Station (for stagecoaches) near today's Sierra Hwy & Newhall Ave [story]
Sanford Lyon


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Friday, Jul 4, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieWhen the Navy had me “working” in Virginia, we would love the celebrations on Independence Day.

I think it was John Adams who said we would celebrate our independence every July 2. That was the day Congress actually voted; the 4th was the day the letter to King George III was signed. And that is the day, the 4th of July, we celebrate declaring ourselves a free and independent nation.

Pretty brash move for a place that had no Army or Navy and had just called out the biggest and meanest kid in the whole schoolyard.

So back to the more recent past. Sometimes we would drive up to Yorktown, Va., for the parade and fireworks there. The parade started off with the Yorktown High School Fife and Drum Corps marching down the street of the restored colonial village. The tune they usually played was “The World Turned Upside Down.” It was the same tune that was played when Gen. Cornwallis surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781.

The old town was filled with politicians on the porches of the old buildings, meeting and greeting citizens for a vote or two. Kids got to play colonial games, and the York County Fire Department gave rides in the huge ladder and bucket truck. There were wares to buy and food of all kinds, too.

A similar thing was happening over in the restored city of Williamsburg. There may even have been a battle between the militia and the redcoats.

In Norfolk, a similar scene was taking place, and many events were conducted at the old Fort Norfolk. That was a small fort built to guard against the British during the War of 1812.

To me, the granddaddy of all celebrations on the 4th of July is in our nation’s capital. The events start with a gentleman in colonial dress reading the Declaration on the steps of the National Archives building on Constitution Avenue. The reading complete, the crowd would be led in three “Huzzahs.”

Next thing you know, some of His Majesty’s soldiers turn up, itchin’ for a scuffle. The militia rushes to the defense, and amid much smoke and power, the revolution starts anew.

Now the parade starts. Seems as if every high school marching band shows up.

declarationofindependenceMaybe you’ve watched the NPR broadcast of what they call, “A Capital Fourth.” You’ve just spent an entire day getting your patriotism booster shots when, just as the 1812 overture is reaching the final crescendos, real cannons are fired at the Capitol building. I know. Too bad the guns are shooting blanks.

Now the fireworks begin. Thousands of fireworks shells are shot into the sky. Seems like a 45-minute display.

Just so you know what this is all about, I’ve provided a link to a site where you can read for yourself, The Declaration of Independence of these Untied States of America.

When was the last time you read that letter? Have you ever read it? If not, here is your chance.

Please read it – but not until after the parade in Newhall. It is truly “the mother of all parades” in these here parts. Come on down to Old Town Newhall and enjoy a good parade. Heck, I’ll be there. In my little Jeep.

It was the parade and fireworks in Newhall where I first learned about “Bombs Bursting in Air…”

I love our parade in Newhall. Did you know there is one in Acton, too? So please come out and watch either one. I’ll only get to be at the one in Newhall.

I’ll wave at you. Can’t wait. See all y’all there.

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you !! It’s with quiet elegance you have ushered in my 4th. I sincerely thank you and hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday !!

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