2013-10-18 / Spectrum

Fall Clean-up – it’s about pride


Our nation’s military has never had it in short supply. For example, the men and women who serve, and their families, proudly display symbols of service almost everywhere – bumper and window stickers on their cars, flags at their homes, even tattoos on their bodies. Even those who’ve long since given up their uniforms show pride in their years of service, with “retiree” license tags, patches and hats.

Pride in service is one of the intangibles that make our armed forces great. It’s a palpable force multiplier. Conversely, an absence of pride is just as evident and has just as big an impact.

Take, for example, the decline in the appearance of the installation, both in unit areas and in family housing. Leaders and visitors have noticed it. You must have noticed it, too. Unkempt grassy areas, trash blowing down the street, cluttered lawns and an apparent lowering of the standards to which we’ve become accustomed all bear evidence of this unsightly trend.

You could chalk it up to lack of time – it’s been a busy fall so far. You could say it’s due to a lack of energy and motivation – the stress of the government shutdown, curtailed services and anxiety about the future have left a noticeable malaise in the community.

Or, you could just be totally honest about it and attribute it to a lack of pride. And you could turn things around just as quickly.

November brings the annual Fall Clean-up, and with it, a chance to show your pride in your service and your community.

“This is not intended to take away from the idea that post beautification is a year-round objective/ responsibility,” says the task order assigning responsibilities for the clean-up. We agree. But it’s certainly a good time to stem the tide of slipping standards and jump-start the return to a community appearance in which we can all take enormous pride.

A very visible and entertaining manifestation of our efforts will take place on December 5, when the wooden debris from the clean-up goes up in smoke during the traditional bonfire that accompanies the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Barton Field. It’s an old-fashioned holiday event for the whole community, with music, food and fun for the kids. And, as we gather to share our holiday spirit around the bonfire, we can know two things with certainty:

• We live in a community that values us and provides us with a fun and traditional venue to ring in the holidays together.

• We live in a community that is valued by its residents, as evidenced by the bonfire burning the waste from our efforts to improve the place we live and work.

It’s all about pride. On December 5, we’ll have a bonfire we can be proud of. And, during the Fall Cleanup, we’ll need an effort we can be proud of.

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