JUNE 9, 1954
NEW YORK, Tuesday—A letter which came to me a few days ago has taken on special meaning. As you drive along our roads, you wonder why it never occurs to people that the sides of the road should be kept beautiful for everybody. I have long wanted to wage a campaign against billboards but one small voice does not reach far. The Garden Clubs of America have done a great deal, but when I see a particularly hideous billboard, I wish they could do more. Even more important, however, is the clearing up of the litter and trash which one sees along highways and in parks and on beaches.
The letter I mentioned tells me of a new organization called Keep America Beautiful, which is financed by a number of public-spirited industries. They want to carry on a campaign of education aimed at those who are still too young to have acquired bad outdoor manners, and aimed also at their elders, who need to be reminded from time to time that litter is a disgraceful by-product of thoughtlessness.
We used to be taught as children, when we had a picnic, to gather everything together and find a safe place where we could burn it. And it was considered a disgrace if the picnic spot did not look as neat when we left as when we had arrived.
I understand this Keep America Beautiful organization is also going to try to get improvement in any anti-trash laws that may exist and to encourage enforcement of such laws. They have named the people who leave trash everywhere "Litterbugs," and that name should certainly be kept before those who thoughtlessly take away the beauty of our country and spoil it for others by not taking the trouble to dispose of their trash in a sensible way.
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I have been asked to tell you a little about an organization called "Youth of All Nations," which Miss Clara Leiser started. It began very simply with personal letters between young people of different countries. In 1944, a 13-year-old member said at the Herald Tribune Forum: "We shall try to live up to our understanding of what is needed to make a better world, so that sometime 'enemy' will only be a word to look up in the dictionary."
The organization has grown tremendously. But it lacks money to help young people get together; to get out a little magazine called "Mirror of Youth"; to help with the exchange of postage stamps; and just to keep its international headquarters going. This is located at 16 St. Luke Place, New York 14, N.Y. Rep. Frances P. Bolton of Ohio thought it important enough to tell its story to Congress in 1949 through the Congressional Record. I think it grows more important each year and is worthy of our help.