The summer of 1988 my bother was getting married out in Denver, Colorado. Kevin, four years my senior asked myself and our older brother, Jeff, to stand up in the wedding. My spouse and I decided we would make a vacation out of it and planned a trip that would include the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone. We figured we might as well take advantage of the drive out and do some sightseeing. It was hot that summer. That was the summer much of Yellowstone National Park was hidden under clouds of billowing smoke. Fortunately, Mark and I were still able to see a number of beautiful scenes and plenty of buffalo and elk.
One of the most memorable things we saw that summer was the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. This is one of my favorite memorials. There are many reasons I like it. Let's start with it's massive size and the idea, motivation and work behind completing such a colossal project. From the conception of the idea by Doane Robinson to promote tourism in the area, to the actual sculpting of the granite mountain by Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum (father and son), the work took from 1927 to 1941. Read more here. Pictures really do not do it justice. You have to see it face to face, ha, ha.
Another reason I like this memorial is the men whose faces are carved into the rock. These were men who made a difference in our country's history. All of them were presidents, each with his own unique style of leading this nation. But they all did great things. George Washington, our nation's first president, fought in the Revolutionary War. Thomas Jefferson our third president, authored the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln our 16th president is famous for The Gettysburg Address, The Emancipation Proclamation and the 13 Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which permanently ended slavery. Theodore Roosevelt our 26th president was the main force behind making our national parks, forests and monuments, a way to preserve our natural resources. He also began construction of the Panama Canal.
When we arrived at Mt. Rushmore it was day time. The sky was blue and the sun was shining on the stone faces. We walked around, read the signs and tried to stay cool. We discovered that at night there was a multimedia presentation and lighting of the monument. My husband who had seen it several times before thought I might enjoy it. So we left to go set up our tent at a campground and came back when it was getting dark. I am so glad! It was phenomenal! The multimedia presentation included music and photographs of the work in progress as well interesting background information. Then it all went black and they lit up the massive portrait in stone. It was impressive!
Everything about this memorial makes it a personal favorite. It is history carved in rock, a memorial, not only to the four men whose faces grace the granite cliff, but to all the people who have lived and served and died for our country. If you ever get the chance to see this memorial in person, don't pass it up.