A Flag Waver


I’ve long loved Independence Day. I love the fireworks, the patriotic music and the chance to step back and say, “Hooray, America!” because I am truly a Yankee Doodle Dandy, though born on Memorial Day and not the fourth of July.

I remember years ago Steve and I were at a dinner party. We were talking about politics or places to live … something along those lines. At one point I said something like, “Well, wouldn’t you want to live in America? I mean, it is the best place in the world.”

The couple we were talking to did not agree.

That was the very first time I realized that not everyone loved America like I did. A sobering moment, to be sure.

I’m not an idiot; I know our politics at times can be cringe-worthy. Inflation is staring us square in the face – and let’s not even talk about homelessness. It can make people question loyalty to their country.

But we are also a land of possibility. I started the CV Weekly back in 2009 and, though I’m not known as Miss Moneybags, I value the chance the CV Weekly gives me to give back to my community.

I’m on the boards of the Kiwanis of Glendale, the Supervisory Committee of the Glendale Area Schools Credit Union and am president of the CV Chamber of Commerce. Husband Steve is a member of Montrose Search & Rescue and on the board of the CV Fireworks Assn. Giving back to the community through volunteering is an essential part of who we are. It does sadden me when I look around and see that there are few younger people willing to step up and take over the responsibilities of many non-profits. When looking at today’s fireworks, put on by the CV Fireworks Assn., consider what the future will look like if no one steps up.


So as not to end on a sad note, I want to share some history of fireworks.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Assn., many historians believe that fireworks originally were developed in the second century B.C. in ancient Liuyang, China. Sometime during the period 600-900 AD, legend has it that a Chinese alchemist mixed potassium nitrate, sulfur and charcoal to produce a black, flaky powder – the first “gunpowder.” This powder was poured into hollowed out bamboo sticks (and later stiff paper tubes) forming the first man- made fireworks.

Fireworks made their way to Europe in the 13th century and by the 15th century were widely used for religious festivals and public entertainment. The Italians were the first Europeans to manufacture fireworks and European rulers were especially fond of the use of fireworks to “enchant their subjects and illuminate their castles on important occasions.”   

Early U.S. settlers brought their love of fireworks with them to the New World and fireworks were part of the very first Independence Day – a tradition that continues every fourth of July when it is celebrated, as John Adams had hoped, “with pomp, parade … bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.” Americans’ spirit of celebration continued to grow and in the late 18th century politicians used displays to attract crowds to their speeches.

While July 4 is still the “big day,” Americans continue to use fireworks year-round to celebrate at festivals, special events and sporting traditions such as the Olympics and Super Bowl.

When people think of fireworks, it is hoped they think of the Fourth of July and the celebration of our country’s independence. Fireworks have been with Americans since our nation’s beginning.

Robin Goldsworthy is the publisher of the Crescenta Valley Weekly. She can be
reached at
or (818) 248-2740.