The flip of a switch. So simple. Yet so meaningful.
The crowd of at least 8,000 stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the boardwalk, on the bridge, on the lawns at Canalside -- even in kayaks on the Buffalo River below -- in the unseasonable 60 degree weather as Bufffalo regained its moniker City of Light.
The hulking Connecting Terminal turned into a massive canvas, an immense work of very public art.
The culmination of more than five years of lobbying, research, experimentation, quibbling and determination, not all in equal parts, the fabulous light show felt like a victory to me. It symbolizes Buffalo's resurgence, its future building on the stalwart foundations of its industrial past. The Erie Canal continuing to enrich the Queen City on the Lake.
It won't create jobs, it won't solve poverty, it won't bring our divided city together. But the lighting of the grain terminals is symbolic of these victories to come, giving hope and promise that will continue to fuel the resurgence.
Symbols are important, perhaps as important as getting down into the trenches and solving real problems, addressing real issues. They galvanize and unite.
Veterans Day is rife with symbols, and many of them make us proud to be Americans. The symbolic lighting of the grain elevators makes us feel proud to be Buffalonians. When we're proud, we care more and thus do more. This may be the single greatest gift that this resurgence is bestowing upon us. Pride.
P.S. For a fabulous look at the terminal all lit up from on high, come to Take Another Look on Saturday, November 28th. The 25th and 28th floor Observation Decks at City Hall provide a unique perspective!