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Yearly parade in Leesburg gets a name change

Mayor Kristen Umstattd and the Leesburg Town Council voted Oct. 11 to put a bit more Christmas into the town’s December parade. The Holiday Parade has formally held that name since Leesburg’s Department of Parks and Recreation started it in 1994. After Tuesday night’s vote, it will be called the Christmas and Holiday Parade.

The topic of the name change arose when someone petitioned council last month to change the name of the parade to something that had Christmas in the name of it.  The out-of-town resident pointed out that Christmas should be placed in the name of the parade, adding that Middleburg has a Christmas Parade every year with little to no objection to the name of it.

Council Member Marty Martinez brought up the fact that since his time in Leesburg, he and everyone he knows has referred to the parade as the Christmas Parade, and he has no problem with adding Christmas into the name.

The actual parade was never formally named the Christmas Parade; it was just referred to that throughout the town, Martinez pointed out.

“This started as a Christmas parade. I’m not going to say that we should focus on that. The point is that everyone should have a chance to participate,” Martinez said.

“Why can’t we get along and be nice about it and be tolerant about it? I’ve always wanted it to be the Christmas Parade. I see no harm; it covers everybody, I’m going to support it.”

Council members were concerned that placing Christmas in the name along with the word holiday could turn the parade into something similar to what happened last year on the Loudoun County Courthouse lawn, when signs popped up during the holidays representing every group and cause imaginable.

“I thought the whole idea was not to put the word holiday in it because all parades are holiday related,” Council Member Katie Hammler said.

Council Member Tom Dunn said that council was making too big a deal out of the naming of the parade. For example back in 1998 the name of the “Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony” was renamed the “Tree Lighting Ceremony.” It was then changed back to “Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Menorah Lighting” in 2010.

“I love the word Christmas, and I’d like to see it part of the name of this parade. This is the Christmas season. The White House recognizes Christmas,” Umstattd said. “I think this is the right way to go.”

Council Member Dave Butler did not agree with renaming the parade.

“I will not be supporting this. I am absolutely stunned that the council would be supporting it. It’s a holiday parade; everyone is invited to attend,” Butler said. “I’ve already heard that it will ruin this parade. Coming this fall, or next fall we’ll have floats and arrangements, and the parade is going to look like the courthouse lawn, and we will absolutely deserve it. People will start to boo and hiss and protest these signs. Worst case we’ll get disgusted with this and cancel the parade. It’s not broken, and it’s a wonderful event.”

“Our holiday parade does not fall on a particular day. This parade actually falls closer to Thanksgiving than Christmas,” Dunn said. “I also feel as a Christian, the parade is more of a commercialization of my religion and it’s more of a holiday parade than a Christian parade. The son of Israel does not do the bidding of the town council.”

Council voted 6-1 with Butler dissenting to name the parade the Christmas and Holiday Parade.



Separation of church and state does not mean you can’t present the two together you just can’t force people to participate or punish them for not. Why does no one get that? Read your history books, that is why we came here in the first place.If you don’t like ti you don’t have to go and no one will burn you at the stake for being a witch.

Oh, No, its Mike(al) Jackson.  Point being, for some, its about censorship.  Take out a word, like Christmas, from all view.  And do it under names like John Wayne, when clearly its all the same poster.  Say it a million times, and it doesn’t change the words, or the message.  So, to all those dead people who are posting, have a Very Merry Christmas!

Congratulations, Laugh!  You have just set the record for most words typed without making a point!

John Wayne, I thought you had died!  Gosh, I’m glad to see I was wrong.  Of course, the topic would be boring for you, if you were dead.  But then again, maybe in the spirit world, your being dead might be seen as somehow ‘spiritual’ and as such, bordering on RELIGION, in which case, Mr. Myers would go to court to end your ‘existence as a spiritual person’ or something like that.  That is of course, if your being a spiritual existence is somehow sanctioned by government.  After all, you lived on film, which of course is protected against pirating by federal law, which is goverment, which means, darn it, that you have to go.

Need to go take a nap.  Laugh’s last pile of written garbage just put me to sleep.

Hurray!  Merry Christmas to All!!!!

Ed Myers, what a guy.  Love how he defines things.  Sooooooooooo, now when does Mr. Myers take the next step and demand that dictionaries remove the word Christmas, because, after all, the Library of Congress has editions of dictionaries, and copyright laws are governmental laws, and dictionaries are copyrighted.  And calanders, darn if they are not copyrighted to, and so they must all be changed.  What a sad ittle world Mr. Myers lives in.

I can’t be the only one who thought the courthouse lawn display was something special.

I had no idea that the word Christmas was actually a definition.Well, Congrats The Lord for the Christmas Parade (Holiday is Silent).

Chuckie, there is a thin line between free exercise and establishment. When government says you can’t have a Kwanza parade because it interferes with the Christmas parade, that’s establishment. When government regulates Christmas lights that’s Free exercise infringement. What is unacceptable is for a sectarian faction to get the government to promote their worldview exclusively. Calling the parade a christmas parade is symbolic that government has taking sides and is promoting one sectarian Christian view over others (both religious and secular) The solution is for government to stop organizing the parades and let anyone hold a parade. The problem is that some people are offended when others exercise a faith they disagree with. The constitution doesn’t protect citizens from being offended but it does protect against the government participating in that offense by picking sides.

@burndude, I appreciate your comments. And I actually agree that government should NEVER promote religion. But that’s a very different definition than from recognizing one. As a christian I don’t have a problem if another faith has their own event. The issue is in saying only cleansed non-specific and vague is allowed. That serves no one.

See, for you to secularize and sanitize everything in society as to not offend anyone - it offends me. Those that don’t hold to a particular faith all still have one and their sanitized and secularized version to me is an establishment of their religious beliefs over mine.

  There is no such thing as non-religion.

  Everyone has a worldview and if anything has been hijacked by government it’s the failed belief that secularism is not a faith equal in religion.

Always funny to hear people cry about government interfering in their lives, yet being proponents of government being in religion. 

@mark - appreciate your thoughts, and i will continue to express my voice with my ballot.  i’m not crapping on religion at all - i’m just trying to understand why there should be any intersection between religion and government.  i’m just as likely as you to be at the parade in fact.  i just see a slippery slope ahead, and I believe our forefathers warned us of this in their writings.

@chuckie - i’m not a faith-hater.  quite the opposite.  i just don’t want religion hijacked by government.

For all of you Faith-Haters who cling to your own book of fantasy - shut the hell up. Deal with your own weak leanings instead of plotting against your neighbors. The parade was here before you were.

  For the hard of healing, this is what the first amendment says.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

At every parade there are many who celebrate the good news of Jesus, which in an of itself is a free exercise of religion. People peacefully assembling sounds like it’s protected. Oh my, religion is not a crime! How dare the government!

  What is really going on is that while try as you might with the stupid signs and high brow self belief - it ain’t-a workin’ is it bud? When life get’s raw and real as it is now, we all know deep inside no amount of secular psycho babble will help.

Your monkey to man drawings look real good on paper but when every month there’s a new arm or leg that breaks the chain you just look silly. Looks like you have more faith then we do actually.

So pick up that shining example of man’s achievement - your iPhone that you absolutely love for all it can do. Tell me that would have happened without Steve Jobs. Intelligent Design ALWAYS requires an Intelligent Designer.

  By the way peeps, you’re also welcome to come to the parade. We’d love to have you…

@burndude, this is part of the fabric of our nation. You are more than welcomed to participate and be included. If you don’t want to participate that is your right. But again, this is a federally, statewide and locally recognized holiday. I’m not telling you to go home, I’m telling you to go somewhere else and live if you don’t like it. IT’s your freedom to do that. But don’t impede us for celebrting what we’ve been celebrating as a nation for over hundreds of years. Like it or not, this country was founded on Judeo Christian beliefs. Our forefathers are probably rolling in their graves because of people like you. I don’t like my tax dollars going to support abortion clinics or people who don’t want to work either. But you know what I do, I go to the ballot box and try to elect people who have the same beliefs as me. You also have that right, in some places you don’t have that right, depending on where your ancestors came from you may not of had that right either if they didn’t come here. So if you don’t like it vote for people who have your same opinion. Thats what this country is all about. Merry Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukah, Kwanza or Festivus for that matter, whichever you celebrate, if any

@Mark - why do you and others insist that people should go back to where they’re from??  doesn’t make sense.  i’m locally born and raised.  i’m not Christian.  doesn’t the fact that i’m here (regardless of locally born/raised) inherently give me the right to voice my opinion?  or is that an option only available to those who are Christian? 

i’m not saying there should not be a Christmas parade.  i’m saying let it be a private affair - funded by those who wish to participate.  Frankly, if i had my way, i wouldn’t want my tax dollars going to any holiday parade when we’re in such financial misery.  Why not get government out of the parade business all together and let the private sector make it happen?

Christmas is an American recognized holiday and has been since way before any us of graced this earth. Lets keep it that way. If your a Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or any other Religion you are welcomed to celebrate this great holiday with us. If you don’t that is your freedom to do so. But it is part of our Heritage and part of the fabric of our country, you knew we celebrated this before you got here and if you don’t like it then go somewhere else and live. And don’t try to force your beliefs or try to push your agenda on the majority. If you’re offended, too bad, I’m not an apologist.

You non-Christians are all out of your minds!  Except for the ones who give me campaign money!

Come on people, with everything else going in in this world is this really such a big deal? Take a look at your calendar and see the holiday title for Dec 25th - Christmas. Whether you celebrate Christmas as the birth if Christ, the day Santa wedges down your chimney or just a day you get off work, the bottom line is the day is titled Christmas! If you don’t like the idea don’t go to the parade, but respect those that do attend.

So many of you balk at the notion of Christmas.  OMG, having a parade to reinforce people’s beliefs in the Christmas traditions?  Do you people ever do anything but drag this subject up ad nauseum?  Got one question for you:  If you HATE Christmas so much, and all the wonderful spirit of the season, do you complain when you get that day (or even perhaps Christmas Eve) off as a holiday from work?????  Just curious.  Didn’t realize Loudoun had so many athiests.  How truly sad.

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