My father used to joke that when my parents, Pat and Eloise Bieter, married in the mid-1950s, my mom said that she'd be willing to live anywhere in the world - as long as she could see the Boise River from there.
I think we all share that feeling. This is a place, a city, that inspires great loyalty and affection from those of us who have the privilege of living here. It's a place we love and want to protect and improve for our children, the way Pat and Eloise Bieter and many other parents protected and improved it for us.
That's what makes today, July 7, 2013, so great: We're not celebrating just any sesquicentennial, but Boise's sesquicentennial - our 150th birthday as a city. And it just doesn't get any better than that.
I considered offering a "Top 10" list of reasons why I love Boise but quickly realized that even a "Top 100" wouldn't cover it all. The Greenbelt. The Basque Block. Floating the river on a hot summer day. Bogus Basin on a clear, crisp winter afternoon. Taking my daughter to swim at the Nat. Listening to Curtis Stigers wail on his sax.
Boise State football. The Depot. Our beautiful airport. The Sawtooths just a few hours away.
Returning a stack of books to one of our neighborhood libraries and leaving with another stack. Geothermal heat. Bicycles.
The Idaho Shakespeare Festival and TMP. A safe and vibrant Downtown. The trees that gave our city its name, beautiful in any season.
But if I had to pick one thing that I love most about Boise, it's simply this: the people. I've lived in a few other places and I've visited many more, and I've never found more smart, creative, energetic, and compassionate people anywhere. That list would be a "Top 10,000," so I won't even start. But we are truly lucky to be surrounded by so many individuals, at every station and walk of life, who do so much to make this great city even better.
It's our nature. Our geographic isolation has always meant that we needed to look to each other, not the next big city down the road, to get things done. The pioneers who first platted Boise 150 years ago today knew that their success depended on their self-reliance and ingenuity.
And that is still what I see today, even among our newest residents. Many of them have come because they have gone through an involved process of choosing Boise, and they don't want to ever move again. We all, those whose families have been here 150 years, or just 15 minutes, combine to form an army of people committed to making Boise the most livable city in the country. And that is why I love Boise. But that is especially why I love being the mayor of the City of Boise.
Dave Bieter is mayor of Boise.
On the occasion of Boise's 150th birthday, we decided to ask a native and a newcomer why they love the city. Mayor Dave Bieter was a natural for the job and so was John Cohen, the new executive director of the Boise Convention and Visitors Center.