This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Reston, Virginia.
Reston was founded in April 1964 by Robert E. Simon Jr. From his sale of Carnegie Hall to the City of New York, Bob Simon bought a vast expanse of land outside Washington D.C. Simon wanted to create a planned community where every race, religion, ethnicity, and class level were welcome. At the time Virginia schools were just beginning to integrate, but Reston would be a place where fair housing laws existed and discrimination was left at the town line. There would be open space, pathways, and a village center - but at its heart, Reston would be powered by the people who moved into this revolutionary community.
What began as a few families in the 1960s grew to a few more. My own parents moved here in the mid-70s and I was fortunate to grow up in this "new town." It was a place where you could live, work, and play. A place where if you wanted to make a difference you could - and what's more it was expected.
When I was in high-school Reston expanded again and the Town Center was built. With the Town Center came more jobs and with more jobs Reston grew. All of sudden our small community hosted over 60,000 jobs and 65,000 residents. Reston was no longer a new blossoming community.
Though the expansion of Reston has brought many wonderful things, it's important to remember the principals from which Bob E. Simon created Reston.
This month marks Bob Simon's 100th birthday and tonight a new film documenting the development of Reston will premiere. I have seen advanced copies and can share that the film both inspires and calls to action those who live in this incredible, unique community. A community is only as strong as its members. Bob taught us that and in this film his lessons will live on.