A Day In The City; Thoughts on Detroit

Sean Jagodzinski

In the center of Detroit's flag is the City Seal. The two Latin mottos read Speramus Meliora and Resurget Cineribus, which means "We hope for better things" and "It will rise from the ashes."
The seal represents the Detroit fire of June 11, 1805 in which the entire city burned with only one building saved from the flames. The figure on the left weeps over the destruction while the figure on the right gestures to the new city that will rise in it's place.
Could you imagine your entire city burning down, facing a total rebuild? In Detroit this has happened at least twice. Once in 1805 and again in 1967. In 1805 they chose to rebuild the city, eventually leading to many of America's greatest inventions, art and music legends, large corporations, and a city of three million.
In 1967, Detroiter's decided not to rebuild, but instead moved, and decided the mountain before them was too great. What followed was over forty years of problems, as they tried to live among or adjacent to the city ruins. Eventually, they were forced to leave or sink, and America was stuck dragging along another weakened link in it's chain.
In hindsight, Detroit has gone through a lot, and that's because Detroit has done a lot. Detroit isn't doing as good as other cities, it's true. But, that is because Detroit had to go through a lot more than most cities.
The current situations in our city are precarious. City and suburb neighborhoods are in shambles, and portions of the current leadership still need fresh faces or systems. Our most recent glimmers of hope are facing failure if we give up, and make no mistake, tomorrow is getting much harder for all of us.
But, Detroit is a city of strength. Detroiter's do not collapse and fold under the pressure.
Detroiters stand strong, because Detroiters know that they learn and grow stronger from failure and adversity; like a chain being hammered through the fires of our smelting plants; like gold being purified or a chain link being strengthened.
Today, I urge you to explore what you can do for your city/metro. It doesn't matter if it's picking up pieces of trash on your block or on the walk to work and lunch Downtown, reporting a burned out streetlight, reporting crimes when they happen to you, simply mentioning something new in the city, editing a Detroit Wikipedia article, or giving money to a Detroit area non-profit institution.
Remember, everything that has happened in Detroit has happened as a result of acting on dreams, or not having the will power to see the dreams through. What happens next is up to all of us.
Will our grandchildren look back and see us as failures, or a city that was rebuilt twice?
The decision is yours.


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