Do you remember Friday evening, March 3, 1967?
That ordinary day, 45 years ago, had ended; not much out of the ordinary had happened that day. The evening, for most of us, was quiet and peaceful. After a routine day, many of us were at home relaxing in front of an old, small-screen black and white television while watching an episode titled “The Show Must Go On” of Gomer Pyle, USMC. That show, featuring Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle, was very popular, and almost everyone adored Gomer, a naïve and somewhat inept country boy who had joined the Marine Corps.
Near the end of that episode, many of us, I am sure, were totally surprised by a powerful and moving scene. Gomer began singing, in an unusual voice we did not know the country boy possessed, a song titled “The Impossible Dream.” Because of Gomer’s performance in that scene, the song, written a year earlier by Joe Darion, became a popular hit.
From childhood, some of us were reminded by both good parents and good teachers that excessive daydreaming was not acceptable. We were told in no uncertain terms that we should, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, “dream, but not make dreams” our master. “The Impossible Dream” is a powerful reminder that, at all times, we should dream, that is, aim at, and strive for, the highest and the best. Great aspirations, high hopes, noble ambitions and lofty ideals should be, and are, compelling forces in life that lead to real accomplishment and successful living. Therefore, they are tremendously important.
The idea expressed in “The Impossible Dream” is not new; it goes back to times long past. Many years ago, while studying English literature as a sophomore in college, I underlined some words in a poem written by Robert Browning, a 19th-century English poet. As a guiding principle, those words are still with me: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for.”