It is just another day, Detroit.
Fires will destroy homes. Thugs will prey on the innocent. And state officials will breathe down your neck.
Maybe that’s why the media and city officials virtually ignored your 311th birthday today. People aren’t celebrating on the streets, and signs aren’t commemorating the day.
You’re all but forgotten, Detroit.
All these years after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded you on July 24, 1701, you’re still clinging on, hoping for better days.
You’ve come back before. When a fire leveled you in 1805, you became an even better city.
Today, when you blow out your 311 candles, remember what Fr. Gabriel Richard wrote after the fire: “We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes.”
Happy birthday, Detroit.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.