Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

88 - Norman, OK

What is beauty? Can beauty be defined? Almost everything we have in our lives can be described in some way regardless of what we are looking at - another person, flowers, mountains, etc, etc. Some see dark clouds; I see clouds with a silver lining. Some see economic inflation; I see opportunities. A lot of our perceptions, thoughts, opinions and so forth are guided by our attitude. My mother taught me the benefits of a positive attitude, which has gotten me through 87 years of a wonderful life irrespective of good and bad ideas in my mind and events in my life. For example, my drill instructor at Parris Island in 1952 was the devil in disguise. Over the years, he rose to being a hero and great friend as we now stay in touch with each other. What you see is what you get.

For those who have spent time overseas, especially in a combat zone, they dream and think of home constantly. While I did not set foot on Korean soil during the war as I was stationed on an R&R base in Japan, I had many, many dreams and memories of home. One home was Bennington, Vt. My other home was America - America the beautiful. Having been raised on a dairy farm, I had never been far from home and family. The Marine Corps gave me the opportunity to see America from sea to shining sea viz-a-viz plane, train and bus. To a young and naive farm boy who had never left home, life was a 'golly,gee,' experience, so sayeth Gomer Pyle

For two years, as much as I loved Japan, I missed America and her diversities in every area of this great country. In a matter of less than a year, I saw the South, flew across this vast beautiful country and discovered the West Coast. Upon discharge from the Corps in California, I took a train across the country to Vermont. Yes, I saw beauty in two different oceans, on flat plains, huge mountain chains, small towns and big cities. But what struck my eye as one of two representations of America was the Golden Gate Bridge. I might have shed a tear of two the minute I saw that beautiful structure. In my mind, this and the Statue of Liberty are the goalposts of Beautiful America. I will never ever forget that beautiful bridge and what it meant to me personally.

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