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Keep America Beautiful


Scotland — Right Here In America

I doubt if I’ll ever see anything more beautiful than the three-hour drive in springtime, going north from Lexington, Virginia toward Washington, D.C. Highway 81 winds through the Shenandoah Valley, and on a sunny May morning the redbud trees and white dogwoods are at their peak. Hill slopes covered in apple-green grass are more than beautiful. Magnificent is the description that comes to my mind, as does the slogan “Keep America Beautiful.”

Once upon a time, on a visit to Scotland, the idyllic pastoral scenes with their grazing sheep and fluffy billows of white clouds overhead impressed me as the most beautiful sight I’d seen. But on a recent drive across my own land, in my own country, absorbing the spectacular beauty that is America, I remembered that—way back when—roadways were littered with trash. It was not uncommon to see a drinking cup or a candy wrapper tossed from the window of the car ahead, perhaps from the car I was in.

Way Back When

Highways really were a littered mess, once upon a time. For those who don’t recall the days way back when that was the norm, return with me to 1970. The Keep America Beautiful initiative began distributing a free brochure. More than 100,000 copies of the brochure were requested within four months

Going further back, Keep America Beautiful began as a Stamford, Connecticut based nonprofit organization in 1953. It’s the United States’ largest community improvement organization ever.

America Is The Beautiful

We have kept the momentum. For the most part, our highways and byways are not littered with trash. That reality started with a vision, a movement, and the hope for generations that follow to enjoy the beauty and resources we call America The Beautiful. 

Can we say the same for our hearts and attitudes? Hatred, prejudice, and bigotry seem to be piling up all around us like litter. Rallying and complaining, hissing and howling. Can we send out a free brochure that would help us pull together—one that would help us keep America beautiful?

People Start Pollution. People Can Stop It

In 1971, a new campaign with regard to pollution was launched on Earth Day with the theme, “People Start Pollution. People Can Stop It.” Can we over-dramatize the idea that every individual must help protect against the effects of abuse on our resources and environment? I don’t think so. 

It’s 2019 folks. Paper and trash is only one form of litter. Can we self-start a plan to clean up the junk? Can we add a new dimension to the slogan “Don’t Be A Litterbug” and move forward with renewed vision to Keep Americia Beautiful, beginning with our own thoughts and actions?


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