Dream Big And Dare To Fail

Legendary musher and Antarctic explorer Norman Vaughan, laughs Saturday, Dec. 17, 2005, during his 100th birthday celebration held at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Vaughn, who in 1928 was the chief dog handler on Richard Byrd's Antarctic expedition died Friday, Dec. 23, 2005, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska just a few days after turning 100 years old. AP

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
A friend of mine died over the holidays. His name Norman Vaughn. Norman died just days after his 100th birthday. That he lived so long surprised none who knew him, for his was an indomitable spirit.

Norman left Harvard to lead Admiral Byrd's dog teams on his expedition to Antarctica in the late twenties. He mushed dogs for the military, led daring rescue missions, even worked in advertising. He eventually landed in Alaska. Practically homeless, he performed menial jobs to get back on his feet and back on a sled. Norman would race in thirteen Iditarods — his first while in his seventies.

Norman scaled the summit of a mountain Byrd named for him in Antarctica just days shy of his 89th birthday.

Some years back I spent a few days with Norman in his cabin not far from Alaska's Denali peak. "What's your secret," I asked.

Norman always had a twinkle in his eye. He fixed me in his gaze and said, "Dream big and dare to fail."



Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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