To our many public officials,
past and present, who have taken the time to be here today, thank
you. I see State Representative Brian Dempsey, State Representative
Harriett Stanley State Senator Steven Baddour and Congressman
Today we speak of sacrifice.
I want to recognize some members of the audience who have sacrificed
for their country and thank them publicly for their service.
To the crew that put all of
this together, to the young people who have stepped forward to
help us out - thank you.
To our city clerk, who came
back from retirement to help her city once again, thank you!
To a young man who spent four
months in Iraq, who fought in Baghdad for our country, please
join me in welcoming Specialist Alan Wheeler. Thank you, Specialist
Wheeler, for your service to your country.
To Pvc Joshua Brewster who
as we speak is serving our country in Baghdad, I welcome his
father and later will present them with a citation thanking their
son for his service.
In addition, I would be so
remiss if I did not recognize Evan O'Neill, who paid the ultimate
price for freedom by fighting in Afghanistan. His parents could
not be here but after later, we will send them a citation for
their son's sacrifice for our country.
Most of all, I welcome all
of you, the people of Haverhill, I welcome you to your auditorium,
to your city hall. I accept the job you have given me and promise
you, in words of the great coach Vince Lombardi, I will give
it my all.
Today, Haverhill begins a
journey to a newer and better city.
Nine tenths of a century ago,
a 12 year old boy left his home with a brother only two years
older to set out on their own journey.
One can imagine that in that
journey the seas were often rough, that there were times when
it seemed that their problems were so great that they could not
However, they did make it.
The journey of those two young boys, like the journey of so many
millions of others, ended here in America, where, with determination
and sacrifice, they were able to create a better life for themselves
and their families.
That 12 year old boy was my
grandfather. We stand here today, the immigrants and their children,
grandchildren, and great grandchildren in the great city that
Today, that city sets forth
on its own journey, a journey to build a new and better city
for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
Our journey will be long and difficult. The seas may be rough
at times. There will be times when it may seem that our problems
are so great that they can not be solved. We will succeed. We
will build a better Haverhill for our families and ourselves.
When some see Haverhill today,
they see a city with immense financial problems, with a ballooning
deficit and a crushing debt.
IF that is all that we see,
we miss the forest for the trees. We are so much more than that.
We are a city with immense resources, with open space, in so
many ways, when it comes to quality of life, we have it all.
This quality of life will be so critical to building the Haverhill
The Haverhill of tomorrow,
the Haverhill that we will build will be different from the city
that our grandparents settled in. The city they settled in was
a manufacturing city, where people were lured by the quality
of factories and the quality of life was often an afterthought.
The new city that we will
build is what urbanologists call a consumer city, a city where
we will attract people and jobs not by the quality of our factories
by the quality of our life. It is here that we have so much to
offer and where our future is so bright. The new Haverhill that
we will build will be the great city that we know we can be-the
cultural center of this region. It is those new people and those
new jobs that will give us the resources to get through this
crisis and build the city of tomorrow.
To complete that journey to
a consumer city, we need to see the beauty of Haverhill that
others see: magnificent rivers, lakes and ponds, - lush fields
and woods- loads of open space. We have the beginnings of an
artist and restaurant zone-. We already have the historic and
cultural sites and we are close enough to Boston, to the oceans
and to the mountains to have them at our side.
To complete our journey and
build the new Haverhill, we need to see all of this, but we still
need to see so much more. We need to follow the words of the
play-write George Bernard Shaw as quoted at the funeral of Robert
F. Kennedy, it is not enough to look at things and ask why, we
must see things as they could be, and ask why not.
We need to look at our school
system, and ask how we can do more to reward those students who
do well, and offer extra after school and summer school programs
to those who fall behind.
We need to look at our parks,
our playgrounds, trees and libraries and we need to ask, how
can we do more.
We need to look at our downtown,
at the great factory buildings that once lured our grandparents
to work, and ask how can we put them back to use as housing and
artists lofts, how can we remake that area?
We have so much to offer and
so much more we can do. Stressing our quality of life, selling
Haverhill, will put us on the path to bring in the tax base we
need, to revitalize our city and complete our journey. We know
that we can get there.
But we also know that to complete
this journey to the great city we will be tomorrow, we know that
we must first confront our fiscal crisis of today.
To meet that crisis, to get
to the Haverhill of tomorrow, we will need a government that
is leaner but not meaner. For the short term on our journey,
we will not be able to offer all that we want, all that you deserve
or all that we offered before. To get to the new Haverhill we
will need a common sacrifice, and a common sense of mission.
Some will get less, some will be asked to do more, and some will
be asked to pay more. The sacrifices we will be called upon to
make will sometimes seem too great, try our patience, but compared
to the sacrifices of those that came before, they will seem tolerable.
As we proceed on our journey
to the new city that we can be, we know that we will make mistakes
and wrong turns. I ask in advance for your forgiveness for mistakes
that will be made, but in the end, we will build together a new
and better Haverhill.
More than forty years ago,
John Kennedy said, that government "is not a set of promises-it
is a set of challenges."
Today I challenge ask you
to join us on that journey to a new Haverhill. Lend your city
your hand, lend us your ideas, and lend us your energy.
Together we will complete
that journey and build a new Haverhill.
Mayor James J. Fiorentini
City of Haverhill, Massachusetts
*Source: City of Haverhill,
Massachusetts Web Site: www.ci.haverhill.ma.us 1-5-04