America the Beautiful??

pexels-photo-117146.jpegI don’t know how beautiful America is in your area of the country, but where I live, it’s not looking very beautiful.

Maybe if you only gaze up at the “spacious skies” you see beauty but I wouldn’t recommend looking by the side of the road.

I’m talking trash today.  No, I’m not trash talking about my country.  I’m talking about the trash that my fellow countrymen fling out their car windows.

I’m disgusted at the trash that lines the highways and bi-ways of my area of the country and from a little research online, it appears this is an unsightly and costly problem all over the United States.  Transportation departments across the country spend millions of tax dollars and countless hours each year picking up litter.  I wonder why we have become a nation of lazy, slovenly slobs and why we don’t have enough pride to keep our countryside and cities clean.

On my travels today, I couldn’t help but notice the outrageous amount of litter carelessly tossed beside the highway.   I don’t think I saw one stretch of roadside that didn’t have garbage strewn everywhere  – water bottles, soda pop cans, beer cans, paper, coffee cups, fast food wrappers, plastic jugs, newspapers, plastic bags, cardboard, Styrofoam, even articles of clothing!

The litter list was endless and it didn’t matter if I was on a four-lane highway or a two-lane country road.   The more I viewed the trash trail, the angrier I became, and then I came home and found other people’s refuse thrown into my own yard.

Grrr!  You may not care about your yard, buddy, but I don’t want your beer cans dumped in mine!   There is so much litter accumulated across from our driveway that hubby and I will have to fill up several garbage bags just so we don’t have to look at it.

When I was a kid, my parents wouldn’t even let me throw a piece of chewed gum out the car window.   Even in school we learned “Don’t be a litterbug!”  Now everyone – including adults who should know better – uses the berm of our roads as their own personal waste can.

So I’m addressing the people who trash toss.  Why are you too lazy to carry your own trash home with you and dump it in your own garbage can?  Or why don’t you find a public garbage can – located in most shopping centers or outside most stores – in which to discard your Big Gulp cup?

Why do you think the rest of us want to see miles and miles of discarded refuse along the side of the road?  Why don’t you care enough about the beauty of our country to clean up after yourself?  If you want to live like a pig, that’s your business, but please take your trash home to your own pig sty.

To me, it’s a matter of respect.  Respect for the beauty of our country, respect for other people and yes, even respect for yourself.   That kind of respect doesn’t seem to exist.  Children aren’t learning it and they sure are not seeing it modeled by the adults in their lives.  Especially when you whip that empty Happy Meal carton out the van window, Mom and Dad!

I admire those who “adopt a highway” for clean-up; hubby’s civic organization is one group that cleans up a local roadway three times a year.  And believe me, there’s never an absence of trash for pick up!  Armed with garbage bags galore, these volunteers don work gloves and walk the line beside our roads picking up the trash that others thoughtlessly throw away.  That’s right, Mr. and Ms. Litterer, they pick up after you because you won’t pick up after yourself.

“America the Beautiful” has become America the trashed.  Our amber waves of grain are infiltrated with garbage.  Those purple mountain majesties have refuse up and down the roads that lead to them.   Our alabaster cities no longer gleam because litter lines the streets and sidewalks.

So what can you do?  Here are just a couple of suggestions:

  • Set an example for others, especially children, by not littering.
  • Carry a litter bag in your car and dispose of it properly, in your own garbage can.
  • Make sure outdoor trash cans have lids that can be securely fastened so your trash doesn’t blow all over the neighborhood.
  • If you or your family members belong to a civic organization, church group, scouting or recreational sports teams, encourage your group to “adopt a highway” and maintain it on a regular basis.  Or your own family could “adopt a highway.”

Today in Chapter 4, Page 5 (April 5) in my book of Opportunity (2011), we can all do our part to keep America beautiful and be the kind of citizens “who more than self their country loved.”


America the Beautiful (lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates, music by Samuel A. Ward)

O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for heroes prov’d

In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved

And mercy more than life.

America! America!

May God thy gold refine

Till all success be nobleness,

And ev’ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam

Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.


5 responses

  1. I wonder why we have become a nation of lazy, slovenly slobs and why we don’t have enough pride to keep our countryside and cities clean.

    Say it sister!!


  2. Why are people so into being “Green” but yet we can’t even throw our trash away in the proper places? Makes you wonder about people. So Go Mom! And thanks for teaching me the importance of keeping this beautiful planet that God gave us clean! 🙂


  3. The same thing is happening where I live. 20 years ago you did not see litter along the roads. Now I even see litter on walking trails where you would think people would have some respect since they made the effort to walk to a natural area. People routinely party along rivers and leave bottles and other trash. In Oregon, we used to have “Do Not Litter” signs and make an effort with public awareness. We have clean-up days but I feel that doesn’t get the message across. The mindset has changed.


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