Great American Clean Up Kicks Off In Biloxi

A crowd of hundreds count down to the start of the 2006 Great American Cleanup at Biloxi's Town Green.

"3,.. 2,... 1,.. Yeah!!"

And with that, the nations largest community improvement program begins.

"This year we're celebrating 21 years of Keeping America Beautiful through the Great American Cleanup," says Gail Cunningham, Managing Director of the Great American Cleanup.

Biloxi still has more than its share of unwanted trash and debris. But the city has also seen tremendous progress in reclaiming ground lost to the worst natural disaster in American history.

"I never did think I'd see the town green get so green, so quick," says Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway.

After beginning in Biloxi, the 2006 cleanup will spread to all 50 states, and involve 2.5 million people in 15,000 communities.

"It's a beginning. And through all of our efforts today, we want to bring national attention to the continuing problem that you face here, the enormity of it, and your courage in making a beginning," says Ray Empson, President of Keep America Beautiful.

Keep America Beautiful officials believe South Mississippi is the ideal choice to kick off their 2006 campaign. They say if the residents here show this much pride in cleaning up their hurricane battered neighborhoods, the rest of America should feel compelled to do the same in their own.

"I think there's an enormous amount of, 'If they can, we can,'" says Empson. "It was a logical choice."

You won't find any give up in this crowd, who are proud to lead the way in a Great American Cleanup unlike any before.

"Biloxi is a beautiful place and we should make it that way again," says 7th Grade volunteer Bryna Hanley.