OUR OPINION: It’s amazing what can happen when we come together

Published 8:00 am Friday, April 29, 2022

Last weekend, we saw the best of Vicksburg as hundreds of people in our community gathered to make it a better place.

Beginning with those gathered for the annual Community Clean-up Day on Friday, it was remarkable to see volunteers from all walks of life and all neighborhoods working together to pick up litter along Vicksburg’s major thoroughfares.

A combined effort of the City of Vicksburg, the Vicksburg Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Rotary International and the Vicksburg Main Street Program, the event did more than ensure the streets were litter-free heading into the weekend.

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As VCVB Sales and Marketing Manager Ashley Gatian said, it was also a chance for others who didn’t participate in the event to see their neighbors put in the work to make their community great. The turnout for Community Clean-Up Day should inspire all of us to have a little pride of place in where we live and do little things that add up and make a big difference.

On Saturday, more than 300 volunteers descended upon the Vicksburg National Military Park to clean up headstones in the National Cemetery.

Not only was this an impressive showing of patriotism, as people from across the country traveled here to honor fallen heroes; it was also a prime example of teamwork to accomplish a common goal.

Both of these events are something to be proud of, and what’s more is, we can all carry this attitude with us in our everyday lives.

The power of a good group shouldn’t be limited to a couple of set days a year, or only opportunities that include a free lunch or a t-shirt. Picking up litter and cleaning grave markers is a great start, but trust us — Vicksburg has plenty more problems that could be solved with just an ounce of commitment from its residents.

Take, for example, the rise in crime among youth over the years. Perhaps, to combat this, we can welcome adolescents into our churches, encourage them to join our after-school programs or simply just talk to them and act as a mentor.

As the weather gets warmer and summer heat looms, consider leaving water bottles on your doorstep for your neighborhood mail carriers and delivery drivers. If you feel led to make someone smile, write cards and letters to local nursing home residents.

You can even work with our existing community programs to find volunteer opportunities best suited to your skills, availability and interests.

Vicksburgers spend so much time complaining and pointing out the community’s faults. Imagine what could be accomplished if we directed that energy toward a positive impact.