From birth through age 18 I lived on a farm and came to love it. Yes, we were poor, although World War II brought in modern changes, including electricity and phone service to our home in Germany Valley, Rabun County, Georgia. My mother, Durell Dickerson Justus, loved to read. I could read by the first grade and liked true adventure and exploration stories, western stories, true and fiction. In school history, especially American history, was a favorite topic.
In Truett-McConnell College, I met and later married Florine Kelley. Before that special event, with the Korean War underway, I volunteered for the Air Force and in a year ended up in the 3rd Bomb Group at Kunsan, Korea. My desire to see the world and learn things led me to military service, which in turn opened the way for me to see and experience our wonderful country. My career allowed me to see almost all parts of the United States except the New England states.
Among other things I saw in Washington, DC, items of national interest, and visited battle sites and other famous places of national interest. At Gettysburg, Antietam and other battle sites, I walked over the various advances of the opposing armies and got emotionally involved. I realized where I walked was once littered with wounded and dead soldiers, with the ground soaked with their blood.
Among military experiences I sailed on three ocean voyages, all across the Pacific Ocean, and rode trains through the length of Japan. I saw Korea in steaming hot summer and the cold blizzards of winter. In three years on Luzon Island, where my wife joined me, we learned of other people, including the pygmy people that lived in grass huts near the base. We also became involved in mission work and made friends with poor people living in grass huts on stilts.
In service, I also experienced much of the west with tours in Texas, Colorado, Iowa and Illinois. Since retiring, with friends I’ve gone camping and fishing in Wyoming several times, and visited sites of interest all in between. America, the beautiful!
The more I see of our country the more I love it.