Love letter to Hazard

February 19, 2014

Editor’s Note: In September 2013, the Huffington Post printed a love letter to Lexington, Ky., from Megan Smith, founder, editor, and publisher of “Cakes&Whiskey,” as part of its Love Letters Project. The Hazard Herald wanted to send the same kind of sentiment to its long-time companion.

Dear Hazard,

It has been long said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but not every beholder is able to see the beauty in everything. Thankfully, we are fortunate enough to be one of those beholders who can see all the beauty that makes up the small, yet bustling, town you have always been.

Though we know you have not been the booming city you once were years ago—the place where people in the area travelled to from miles away just to come window shopping through your streets—we also know those days are not just a history to you and all of your citizens, but they could also be your future.

Don’t be upset or ashamed of yourself when you hear those who were born and raised here call you a decrepit “ghost town” that has no chance of coming back—we know better. Having been in a century-long relationship gives us the confidence to realize that when we look down your Main Street there are not only empty and worn out buildings the owners of which have seemingly forgotten, there are people living and working here trying to bring back your former glow.

It’s a shame you have such a reputation for being a dying city when we see so much life within your borders every day. From the excited kids getting on and off buses from school, to the small business owners standing against the statistics that are not in their favor in order to remain in the place they call home, to the leaders, both within your limits and not, fighting for you every day.

There are so many groups, now, trying and fighting for you to be the city we all know you truly are under that depressed visage. Plans for community centers, river trails, clean-up efforts, and help for businesses to stay with you for many years to come have all begun in the last year and will hopefully continue in the coming years.

On Valentine’s Day, people across the world were reminding those special people in their lives just how much they are loved and appreciated. We want to make sure you are told how much you are loved and appreciated every day—even after Feb. 14 is over. You’ve heard your citizens say over and over what they want out of you, and now it’s their time to help get what they want, to step up and get involved in making you the city we all know we are truly proud to call home.

People, both locals and those who have migrated here, like to compare you with other places and cities in the state, saying there are many, many places that are better to live and work in—though we think this is unfair. There is no other city that could possibly compare to the spirit of the “Pearl of the Mountains,” and we want to make sure everyone recognizes what they have.

—The Hazard Herald