This is a song to our city

We have come here to reclaim our city
Not from urban decay
But for what is left of the American dream
A dream that featured Daley’s highways
And streets that cross the muddy river
And the crooked cabbies and politicians
And the ghosts of Haymarket Square

We are reclaiming our city’s character
The facets of the jewel that adorn her crown
Her dazzling architecture
Her majestic churches
Her splendid lakeshore
Her seductive skyline

This is a song to our city
This is a song to the lady we love

She rises above her own critical past
To lead her children into a vibrant future
A future well aware of and shaped by the past
By the wit of Dreiser
By the wisdom of Sandburg
By the righteous indignation of Algren
By the vision of Burnham

She displays her peerless strength and beauty
In the corners of her crooked smile
A smile dividing her magnificent face
Forged by the heart of Cermak
In the soul of McCormick
In the mind of Mamet
On the back of DuSable

We have come here today
To turn our strong shoulders
Away from the faceless voices
That betrayed Randolph Street
That abducted Chicago Stadium
That stripped Madison Street
That destroyed Maxwell Street

This is a song to the borders that are drawn
Because the melting pot didn’t quite melt together

The borders that keep the Chinese at Wentworth and Cermak
The borders that keep the Greeks on Halsted
The borders that keep the Italian on Taylor Street
The borders that keep the Swedish up in Andersonville

We have united here today to remember
To pay tribute with our blood
To offer hope with our sweat
To offer life with our souls

We have come here today
To retrace what course we have left
What roads might still be open to us
Roads that will lead us back into the heart
Of the woman for which we sing

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