"Poor Behavior Equals Disrespect"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, July 8, 2016

Last week I remarked how eager our Thumb area was to welcome back all the summer residents, vacationers and weekend visitors. I said the Fourth of July fireworks display were a “welcome” reward for their arrival.

I had an opportunity to visit many of the Thumb villages and cities along the shoreline just prior to the Fourth, from Lexington to Bay City. They all were decorated and sparkling clean for the upcoming holiday, and many had messages of respect for those who have defended our rights and independence. Employees and volunteers were busy placing grandstands and tables and chairs adjacent to viewing areas and along parade routes. Extra waste receptacles were put in place next to the spaces. The fireworks put on in the shoreline towns cost thousands of dollars, much of it raised by hard-working collections all year long. Additional expense occurs when maintenance crews have a major clean up after the events.

The celebration was intended to display thankfulness and pride in our country. Many hours were spent on floats that participated in parades, and more hours were devoted to cleaning the fire engines and farm implements that passed by. As I see it, most people who arrived in the area to enjoy the festivities had a great time and were grateful for the efforts made. Unfortunately, some could not resist behaving in a totally selfish, disrespectful manner.

I had an opportunity once again to be out and about the day after the Fourth in Port Austin, and signs of the ungrateful were everywhere. Trash along the parade route, strewn on homeowner’s lawns, spent fireworks canister’s everywhere. I saw a person jump in the air as they stepped on one not ignited. Evidence of the really bad conduct was found in the county park where hundreds had spent the day and evening enjoying the festivities. Cans, bottles, pizza boxes and other debris littered the entire beach area — some of it was actually near waste bins that were not full. I’m sure what I saw at my park was probably duplicated in the other county beaches and parks.

What a poor example the litterers showed their youngsters. How difficult would it have been to place trash in a receptacle? And those who extended the fireworks displays by shooting off their own – why didn’t you clean up your mess? Perhaps not right after in the darkness, but the next morning so others didn’t have to do it for you.

Yes, I know there can be a large amount of discarded rubbish after any picnic or beach party. Multiply that amount times a very large number of people in the same area and it equals a major amount. It really shouldn’t be difficult to just carry an extra, large garbage bag. If you see a container intended to collect trash, place your bag in it, or alongside. You could also throw it in your vehicle and put it in your own garbage pick-up.

Perhaps if others witness you cleaning up your mess, they may be inspired to do the same. It would just be great if everyone who enjoys beach and picnic areas would just leave them the way they found them – neat and tidy.

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