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1,220 Gorgeous Photos of America the Beautiful

As the end of 2016 slips away, so too, do the number of vacation days left to me. I recently used up a couple to enjoy a nice long weekend, bookmarked by visits with old friends.  Obligations, time and distance have made regular visits impractical, so we cherish these little adventures we arrange. 

Both excursions, of course,  were blessed with the laughter and comfort you experience in the company of someone who knew you when you were still shaping and who has continued to love you along the way.   Having been through most of the wars, as they say, and come through the other side, we indulged in reflecting on just a few serious memories of the life we've known. Otherwise, this was going to be all about fun.

While making that point about dedicating upbeat hours together wasn't necessary there was one topic from the beginning we put off limits. The American presidential election would not be mentioned. Of this we have had enough.

And now,  today, finally, it will all soon be over. Later tonight we will know, for better, worse or more so depending on your view, who the Americans have chosen as their new president. The historical significance of this race, one of the ugliest and most bewildering ever, isn't lost on anyone. The two top candidates are a politically-savvy, well-educated woman, who has never been accused of inspiring warm and fuzzy feelings, and a businessman of questionable ethics and morals.

Like most Canadians I have my opinions on this. They are mine, they are strong and I will share them in detail with anyone who asks. What I won't do is share them here. This is a blog about images, neither the place for political commentary or for volatile topics. I have no illusions that anyone might want to hear what I have to say. I have no power to influence anyone. My editorial days are behind me; my soapbox was dismantled long ago.

What I do feel compelled to comment on is Republican candidate Donald Trump's campaign promise to "Make America Great Again". The reason? I tend to think America is already pretty great. Certainly, there are issues — guns and healthcare to name a couple. But what country doesn't have a few warts? 

Its citizens are intensely proud of their nation. Travels have taken me south of the border frequently and I will forever be awed by the Americans' love for their country.  Nowhere else does one see such patriotism displayed. This is a place that is viewed as powerful in the eyes of the world. The rich history that is its foundation built a democracy that is held in esteem by others.

There is grandeur in its aesthetic, variety in its landscape. It's a country of tropical breezes and polar ice, rocky mountains and deserts, towering skyscrapers and open prairies. It is from 'sea to shining sea' America the Beautiful. Flawed, perhaps, but no more than most. Not a country that needs to be made great again. It's already there.

Check out that beauty in these wonderful photos from iPHOTOS.com:

iPHOTOS.com America Landscape Pictures

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