Spring is in full bloom in the Santa Clarita Valley. After months of lockdowns and restrictions, we are finally seeing the light at the end of this pandemic tunnel and are ready to enjoy a long-overdue return to our lives.
Our beautiful parks will soon be buzzing with activities like adult softball and youth T-ball. The new Trek bike park of Santa Clarita continues to be a popular place for residents to hone their mountain biking skills, and our open spaces are warming up to welcome hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy nature’s natural beauty. The warmer temperatures also remind us that Memorial Day is right around the corner.
This holiday is a wonderful opportunity to spend time barbecuing with family, relaxing by the pool or enjoying a great meal at one of our many local restaurants. But let us not forget what this holiday truly represents — honoring our servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our country.
Memorial Day is also the first installation date of the year for our Hometown Hero Banners. These patriotic banners adorn street poles throughout our city on the days leading up to and following Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Veterans Day.
The city of Santa Clarita established the Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program to honor and recognize currently serving active military personnel from the Santa Clarita Valley. Our city is fortunate to have a strong community of veterans and families that support our current active-duty personnel. A wonderful way to give back to them is by supporting the city of Santa Clarita’s Hometown Heroes Banner Program and sponsoring a banner for a family that would not be able to afford one. These banners offer a way for parents and family members of active service military members to see their loved one’s face — even if they are thousands of miles away serving our nation.
In addition to the physical banners, digital banners are displayed on the city’s website free of charge and on the Hometown Heroes website year-round. And recently, the city contracted with a new banner company and brought the installation of the banners in-house. Doing this significantly decreased the cost of participation and renewal by over 60%, allowing for more residents to participate. The city of Santa Clarita values each of our veteran and active-duty service members and wants to ensure that all military families can participate in the banner program and every local hero is recognized.
For families that would like to participate in the program or renew their participation in the program, the Memorial Day installation deadline is quickly approaching. Orders must be received by May 10 to guarantee the installation for Memorial Day. As an ongoing program, orders will be accepted at any time, and the banner will be displayed with the earliest installation window.
Another way to show our appreciation for our service members and veterans is on display year-round at the Veterans Historical Plaza. One of Santa Clarita’s 35 parks, Veterans Historical Plaza was constructed as a lasting tribute to our community’s veterans, both known and unknown, who have served in the military since World War I. A brick walkway containing hundreds of engraved bricks honoring individuals who served in the military are installed twice per year — before Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This unique and permanent way of honoring our community’s military members adds to the beauty of the park nestled in Old Town Newhall.
I encourage you to also reach out to organizations that serve our military population and their families throughout the year to show your support. For more information about the Hometown Heroes program, please contact the city of Santa Clarita at 661-255-4939 or visit santa-clarita.com/Heroes. To honor a veteran or service member in your life with a brick at Veterans Historical plaza, contact the city of Santa Clarita at 661-284-1420.
Jason Gibbs is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].