Recently, a good friend of Hamtramck, journalist Michael Jackman, posted on his Facebook page an article he wrote a couple of years ago that got us thinking.
Jackman is a former editor for the Metro Times, and is a former resident of the city.
In 2017, he wrote a humorous column on area city mottos. They ranged from regal, to bland, to ripe for ridicule (most of them in the latter category).
(Note to Metro Times publisher: What in the world were you thinking of letting such a talented writer go? Someone out there in the publishing world, give Jackman a place to call home.)
Hamtramck’s current motto was credited for being inclusive. It is: “The World in 2 Square Miles.”
Several years ago, the city’s Downtown Development Authority had sponsored a contest, to come up with a new motto to replace the former one: “A Touch of Europe in America.”
The thinking was that the 1980s-inspired motto excluded many new residents who came from, for example, Bangladesh and Yemen.
The new motto, by the way, was the brainchild of former resident Christine Komisarz, who actually came up with the saying in 2008 when the former Citizen newspaper held its own contest.
That had us wondering just what is the actual, official, motto.
According to the Detroit Historical Society, it’s: “A League of Nations.”
There is one problem with that, though. No one has ever heard of it.
Greg Kowalski, the Chairman of the city’s Historical Commission and director of the Historical Museum, confirmed that motto is suspect.
We put a call in to the media representative with the Society, and that person confirmed that the source of that saying cannot be independently verified.
Well, no matter.
The point of all this is that compared to other cities, Hamtramck may be a small town, sure. But, it’s not small-town minded. Its inhabitants have always had a sense that the world is a much bigger place than just this city.
It’s no accident that Hamtramck High School sports teams are known as “The Cosmos.” That’s Cosmos, as in, Cosmopolitans.
The team name suggests that we are not only residents of the great city of Hamtramck, but citizen members of the entire globe.
One of our favorite HHS cheer leader fight team chants includes the refrain: “You could have been a Cosmo.”
For those not lucky enough to have grown up here, dang, that has a nice ring.
Don’t we all wish we could have been a Cosmo?
April 12. 2019