Monday, August 25, 2008

Mount Rushmore

This week, as presidential campaigns rev up for the general election, I find myself thinking of a handful of past United States presidents. I'm sure we all have favorites---mine would include: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

I admire George Washington because of his integrity, courage, and leadership during the formation of our country. Abraham Lincoln has always been a favorite because of his wisdom, compassion, and courage during a time that tore our country apart at the seams. I've enjoyed reading the exploits of Teddy Roosevelt and I admire his spunk and his push (the Square Deal) to provide a fair shake for average citizens and businessmen alike. Franklin D. Roosevelt overcame great personal trials to lead our country through the challenging depression era.

To me, these men epitomize what being the president of our country is all about.
Three of these four men are honored by the famed sculpture that was carved on Mount Rushmore. Here's a question for you: which of the four former presidents mentioned above are featured on this National Monument? No peeking, no googling---just off the top of your head. =) I'll list all four of them at the bottom of this blog.

Last summer, we had a chance to travel to Mount Rushmore. It's the first time I've ever seen this national treasure in person. I've seen pictures of it before, but nothing compares to seeing the actual thing. I caught a glimpse of it as we drove around a mountain. Filled with excitement, we parked down below, then walked up the cement steps that lead to the mountain sculpture. An alleyway of State Flags lead the way. Then there it was, rising in grandeur before us, this tribute to mortal men who shaped our country during the first 150 years of its existence. There are no words to adequately describe what I felt that afternoon as I imagined the work that went into the creation of this monument.

A man named Gutzon Borglum was the artist who was asked to design and create the sculpture. In an interesting twist, he was born in a little Idaho town called St. Charles, which happens to be here in Bear Lake County. =) Gutzon and 400 workers worked on this overwhelming project for 14 years (Between October 1927---October 1941). Unfortunately, Gutzon died of an embolism before it was completed, in March of 1941. His son, Lincoln Borglum, continued with the project until it was completed seven months later.

Mount Rushmore stands as a permanent tribute to some of the most courageous Americans to this point in time.
If you are ever near South Dakota and the famed Black Hills, take the time to see this national monument. I can promise that you'll never forget the majesty of this creation.

(Answer to the question above: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, & Abraham Lincoln.)

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