Letter: Remember our neighbors in crisis

We’ve been asked as good citizens to prevent the spread of coronavirus by social distancing. Yes—let’s all do our part. But that doesn’t mean you have to close your door—or your mind, or your heart—to friends and neighbors.

As newly elected President Benjamin Harrison embarked for the White House from his home on Delaware Street, one of the last sentiments he shared with his friends and neighbors was: “I love this city.”

Today, as many of us are preparing for our own extended stays at our own white … and blue, yellow, black, red, green, wood, vinyl, and brick … houses we ask you to join us. Not here at the museum—there will be time enough for that when our doors reopen later this spring. We want you to join us in that high civic spirit that has forged us into a community over the past two centuries. The civic spirit that: turned swampy lowlands into a thriving capital city; accelerated pioneer automotive development into the world’s greatest spectacle in racing; brought us the Colts, Pacers, IndyEleven, NCAA, and Pan Am Games; and made us into an internationally renowned amateur sports capital. We didn’t need showy scenery or gimmicks to lure people here—Indianapolis is a great city because of the quality of its inhabitants, the resilience of its spirit, and our indomitable will to overcome obstacles.

After all, Indianapolis is as much about people as place: hometown to Sen. Lugar, Mayor Hudnut, Kurt Vonnegut, Madam Walker, Eli Lilly, David Letterman, Major Taylor, Booth Tarkington, Mari Evans, John Green, Wes Montgomery, Jim Morris, Jane Pauley, James Whitcomb Riley, Oscar Robertson, President Benjamin Harrison and many more.

We all have work to do in these extraordinary times, helping lift up those in need and their spirits. Let’s make sure when the history books look back at us—and tell the stories of how we faced and overcame this moment of adversity—that we do credit to this amazing community.

Join me as we say without hesitation or reservation: I love this city.


Charles A. Hyde
President & CEO
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

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