Story (A Call to Duty)

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A Call to Duty
By Elizabeth OuYang

What a great way to serve our country by keeping it clean for everyone to enjoy its natural beauty!  Armed with garbage bags, gloves, handsaws, clippers, and state of the art “trash tweezers”, 11 hearty “peace soldiers” marched along the shore path of Hudson’s Palisades in New Jersey.  Our mission on Sunday, April 25, 2004 was simple and clear-to serve our community by preserving nature for the generations to come.  The common enemy was “TRASH”. This CMCNY battalion was voluntarily recruited. With a beautiful view of Yonkers across the river, we marched in single file up and down endless rocks for five miles in search of discarded bottles, molded foam, paper and plastic and tree branches and limbs blocking the path’s way.

Morale was high among these nature loving troops.  Lieutenants Iris and Mei Sheng clipped diligently at branches, while Sergeant Cam tackled the thicker limbs with a hand saw.  Lieutenant Alex and Cadet Gary came to the rescue to collect garbage caught in hard to reach places. Sergeant Shui-Kei was ready with empty garbage bags while foot soldiers Nancy, Kelly, Wendy, Peggy and I obeyed orders and filled them to the brim. Along the path, we marched on the winding, wooden steps that lead foot soldier Nancy built on a previous mission with other soldiers missing in action on April 25th.

This mission was highly successful.  In total, we collected over 15 large garbage bags of trash. We encountered no opposition along the way.  On the contrary, the local community unanimously welcomed our presence. There were no serious casualties. For his bravery, Sergeant Cam Luc was awarded the purple heart medal.  For more than a mile in the drizzling rain, Sergeant Luc carried on two ends of a makeshift wooden poll perched on his back a total of four filled garbage bags and one discarded family size ice cooler!!

Sergeant Shui Kei kept his dedicated troops well fed with muffins, hot chocolate and snacks. It was a gratifying experience to sacrifice our time, labor and sweat for a noble cause.  However, we need to recruit more willing “soldiers” for the next trail maintenance on Sunday, May 16th.  In addition to being morally motivated, one must be physically fit. This mission will cover a 7 mile journey along the Appalachian Trail. Please enlist by contacting Sergeants Shui-Kei and Cam.   Thank you.

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