If we would awaken love of our city and make it permanent, we must make our city lovely and lovable. But this better city must first take shape in the mind and heart. It is in the beginning little more than in a dream. Here in the City of Reading, we have many reasons to love. We can inaugurate a movement but it must be a “people’s movement,. The work will be not only for you, but by you. Everyone is to have a share in it. There will come before the imagination a vision of what might be, of what should be, and then this vision of the City-that-is-to-be will be embodied in brick and stone, in the field and flower, in a new and better order of men, women and children.
One possesses civic spirit only while one is finding an outlet for it., civic virtue only when one’s will is expressing itself in productive action, civic pride only while one is justifying it. Abraham Lincoln said, “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives,” adding, however, “I like to see man who lives in it so that his place will be proud of him.”
What we see lying around us in Reading is not the completed product but only the raw material, the nucleus of a Brighter Reading. This should console us, and even fill us with courage when we discover that there is a chance for us to have a hand in the creative work. For if we are young or active, we may prefer to live a period when things are unfinished. But let us not forget that we are responsible for the results and that if we fail to embrace our opportunity or try to make our vision real, that for the next generation it may be impossible.
The citizens of Reading are challenged. An issue is presented. Action, some action, is necessary. What will it be? There is every reason to expect right action whatever that may prove to be. The results will be seen in untold practical benefits and blessings to every man, woman and child in Reading, and there will be more reasons than ever before to know, to love and to serve the city that you and your children after you call home.