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Road Trips: The Interstate 90 Corridor of South Dakota –

Part Two

 


 

Mount Rushmore National Memorial – Quiet Reverence

 

Between 1927 and 1941, sculptor Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers carved the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln into the granite that comprises Mount Rushmore. The sculpting tools were dynamite and jackhammers. At the top of a mountain 5,500 feet above sea level, the heads of the four American presidents are each six stories tall.

 

However, statistics and specifications don’t prepare you for the emotional impact of the memorial. Passing under the entrance arch and between the columns of the Avenue of Flags, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln are plainly visible, and people move with hushed voices. If you can, take the trail along the foot of the mountain, and read the signs along the way. 

Penny:
 
It’s very difficult to explain the feeling you get when looking at such an American landmark. With all the thousands of people there, it was strangely quiet. Once in the park, you walk down a walkway with all the states’ flags on either side of you. Then, there it is – Mount Rushmore.
 
Everyone was just in awe as the four presidents seemed to look up to the sky and into the distance with such hope and inspiration. We went on the one-mile walking tour and learned about the presidents as well as how Mount Rushmore came to be.
 
We returned in the evening to see the lighting of the mountain. The presentation began with a movie about each of the presidents depicted on the mountain and why each was chosen to forever gaze upon the sky and the land. Then lights shined upon the mountain, showing the presidents beautifully against a clear sky surrounded by the many stars. How majestic.
 
After that, the rangers called up veterans and current military service people for the lowering of the flag. What an honor to witness everything. Tears welled up in our eyes at the beauty and glory of it all.
 
 
Emerson:
 
We stopped at the very patriotic Mount Rushmore (or “Rount Mushmore,” depending on whether you were talking to a normal person or my father). That was a terrific experience, seeing the likenesses of four of our greatest presidents eternally captured on the perfect mountain in the perfect location.
 
Despite forecasts calling for rain and storms that day, Mother Nature decided to prove the weather people wrong (weird) and gave us an extremely temperate day. All four of us got great pictures. We walked around the park once, since we knew we were coming back later that night for the light show.
 
We left to get burgers, and my mother, father, and friend ate them bison-style. I refused to touch it, for why would I want to eat something that earlier belched in our car?
 
When we ventured back to see the light show, my friend and I had time to walk around the park four more times, thanks to my mother’s habit of being early. It was worth it, though, because every lap boasted a different sky and backdrop to the memorial. My friend and I also were able to talk, which was nice.
 
The light show was very good. It started off with the host ranger talking about Mount Rushmore, and then we saw a film on it. While that was going on, Mount Rushmore was becoming illuminated.
 
The best part was the last part, when the host ranger invited all former and present military persons of all branches to go on the stage. It was a very heartfelt and touching moment.

 

 

Watch for Part Three of this Road Trip soon.

 

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