For more than 200 years, the American flag has been flown across the nation as a symbol of allegiance and pride, and the Santa Clarita Valley is no exception.
In fact, Santa Clarita is known as a patriotic town by many. Flags proudly wave on light poles down many of the streets, at homes across the city and at various schools and businesses, including some especially large flags at Camping World of Valencia and Schwartz Oil Co. at Castaic Junction.
“People tell us they love seeing (the flag) from the freeway,” Camping World spokeswoman Melissa Manning said to The Signal in a previous interview. “It’s loud and proud and it never comes down, unless it has to be repaired.”
The massive 40-foot-by-80-foot flag was put up three years ago, and stays up year-round, after officials at Camping World in Lincolnshire, Illinois, announced that all of the chain’s stores would be flying the massive flags in honor of veterans.
“Our company places extreme pride and value on our country and its veterans,” Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World, said in 2014, according to the company’s website. “A large percentage of our employees and also customers are veterans, and we want to honor them, their dedication to our country and to our local communities.”
While the Camping World flag is certainly the biggest flag in Santa Clarita, it is not the oldest of the giant flags in the area.
Though the Schwartz Oil Co. flag is a bit smaller at 30 by 50 feet, it has seniority as it’s been around for more than 20 years.
The owners said they’re proud of their huge flag, which can be seen from both the Interstate 5 freeway and Highway 126, and was put up by the owners because they wanted to show some patriotism. They put the flag up during the Fourth of July holiday and try to keep it up throughout the year.
“I’ve been driving past (this flag) every week for over 10 years now, and every week it makes me smile,” said truck driver Ryan Pullman.
Pullman said he drives the same route weekly, and cannot wait to see the “towering flag” as it means he has almost made it home.
“I can’t think of a better way of honoring our country than by doing this and keeping it up as much as they do,” he added.
While not as big, yet still impressive, two more local businesses along the I-5 have also put up approximately 20-by-30-foot flags.
Both Conserv Fuel, located on the 28100 block of The Old Road, and McDonald’s at the corner of The Old Road and Magic Mountain Parkway, have recently put in new flagpoles to accommodate the larger flags.
Six different flag designs were flown before Betsy Ross created the official version, and today’s flag still features the original 13 alternating white and red stripes, in honor of the original colonies, and 50 stars on a blue background to represent the states. The red signifies hardiness and valor, white for purity and innocence, and blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Stevenson Ranch resident Shayna Reems said her 2-year-old son, Caleb, salutes — with the wrong hand, she added, laughing — every time he sees the giant flags.
“My kids love driving around town and seeing all the flags, especially the boys,” Reems said. “My oldest likes to see how many he can count in a day, though he can only count up to about 20 before he loses track and has to start over. Their dad is a U.S. Army vet, so they know the importance of being patriotic … This is their favorite time of the year because all the flags are out.”