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Commentary: A few suggestions for Havre de Grace July 4th celebration

BY RANDY McROBERTS, rmcroberts@theaegis.com

1:01 PM EDT, July 3, 2012

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I recall a couple of weeks ago, I ventured away from the hardline of sports to write a about something near and dear to me. This week, I feel I have to do it again after another July 4th celebration has passed in Havre de Grace.

For the past many years, I and many others have gotten up and made our way to Union Avenue, where the city holds its annual parade on any day but the 4th. If my calendar is right, next year the parade might be on June 30.

Anyway, my brother, Greg, and I met in our normal spot shortly after 6 a.m., knowing that we couldn't put our blankets, chairs, etc. on the ground before 8.a.m. There is my problem and disgust.

As we stand there and wait, people up and down the avenue are putting up canopies and rope barriers, trying to secure their areas. Meanwhile, we, the Merglers next to us and the Wettigs across the street, stand idly by, waiting for the 8 o'clock hour.

The signage up and down the parade route tells all that there is no parking at a certain point and no one can put stuff on the ground until 8 a.m. Talk about a game of sorts.

Sometime between 7 and 8 a.m. our friend, Angela, was talking to a police officer, who was asking why she was unhappy. As she explained what I have previously described, another officer came along and told certain people to take down their ropes or strings. OK fine, but these people were only guilty because they were still standing there. Many others had come, put their crap down and disappeared, not subject to the rule imposed.

There's my problem. The 8 a.m. deadline is for all, not just some. I remember the first year the city went to this. We watched then police officer Bill Johnson authorize the removal of some stuff that had been put down too early.

Why have the signage at all if it's not going to be enforced? Why penalize just a few? I know it's a long street and there's many people who come out early, but let's make it fair for all.

As for the parade? I marched in enough in my younger days to make me an expert of sorts.

All I'm going to say is this. Where were all the high school bands from Harford County and nearby Cecil? We get a high school band from Minnesota and the Baltimore areas, but none from Harford or Cecil other than the host Havre de Grace? Pretty pathetic in my book.

Oh, another thing. Why don't we let the American Legion honor guard lead the parade? That might eliminate one of the few unnecessary gaps that make even a patient person nuts.

Now, for my really out there suggestion which pertains to the fireworks. Please, just read me out.

For a few years, we've had this elaborate siren and speaker system in place throughout the city. That said, there's many, my family included, who view the fireworks from somewhere other than the city park.

From where we were, we could here the "Star Spangled Banner" being sung to get the fireworks started. Then it was lights and booms with no music.

I know this sounds far-fetched, but wouldn't it be cool to have the music played through that system I mentioned? You could hear it in all the preferred viewing areas. Up on the hill around Bulle Rock and other developments, the middle school lots, the Concord Cove area and any others that I'm missing. That speaker system covers it all, that's why it was put there.

For those who celebrate today (Wednesday) on the 4th, have a safe and happy 4th.