Detroit’s city flag contains a four-world Latin phrase…

Flag_of_Detroit_Michigan_croppedDetroit’s city flag contains a four-world Latin phrase on the seal: “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus.” It translates to “we hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes”. But it’s not a reference to the city’s present-day struggles. The flag was designed in 1907 and officially adopted in 1948, and the motto dates back a century further back, to 1805. On June 11, 1805, a fire ravaged the city, with devastating results: “with the exception of one stone fort and the brick chimneys of wooden houses, the city was leveled to the ground by that afternoon,” according to the Detroit Historical Society. Fortunately, no one died, and the population decided to rebuild Detroit where it was. As the Wall Street Journal explains, a local priest coined the saying to encourage the rebuilding effort.

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