Organizers of this past weekend's Sunset Neighborhood Reunion are to be commended for their work and their success for what hopefully will become an annual event. I've lived here long enough to remember when the Sunset neighborhood was a thriving area of town with a rich tradition and heritage.
Reunion organizers say the Sunset decline began in 1968 with the closing of the Lincoln School which coincidentally was about the same time that drugs surfaced in our culture. And everyone acknowledges that drugs helped greatly in the decline of this once-proud neighborhood.
But Sunset is on the rebound and this weekend's gathering is one step in that direction. Many of the younger people this weekend cannot remember the Sunset of days past. They cannot remember the shops that dotted the streets or the neighborly approach taken by the residents there.
Sunset has long had a reputation that is mostly undeserved. The lawlessness that often plagues the west end of Sikeston is too often attributed to the Sunset neighborhood. Police will tell you differently. A new breed of resident has moved into the west end and they care nothing about the safety and well-being of others including Sunset residents. That too is the story being promoted by this weekend's event.
Pride knows no color line nor geographic designation. And residents - current and former - of Sunset still retain the level of pride that is commendable. These proud residents know of the heritage and the traditions that are a part of the Sunset history. They want the younger people to realize and recognize that heritage.
Sunset today is in great need of many things. But with a core of dedicated people like those who organized this event, the future of Sunset is much brighter than the past. It should be the goal of the entire community to make these dreams a reality. Sunset should be safe for residents and visitors alike. And we should all adopt that goal regardless of our residences.
If all neighborhoods in Sikeston fought as hard as Sunset, our community would be stronger and our pride greater.