Faces of greatness
Scott Laningham 100000GSNP Comments (2) Visits (4390)
Mount Rushmore near Rapid City, South Dakota to witness that marvel of enormous rock sculpture featuring U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. All four were immortalized in stone in a project supervised by Gutzon Borglum that completed in 1941. When I took this photo of some of our kids in front of the monument, I thought about how those sometimes great, sometimes flawed men on the mountain might have reacted if told, as children, that their faces would someday be blasted and chiseled into a mountainside. I suspect they would have been embarrassed by the suggestion, and like my kids, more interested in the mountain goats and chipmunks that roam the rocks.
Just a few minutes west of Rushmore, work continues on the Crazy Horse Memorial, honoring the great Oglala Lakota warrior. That awesome sculpture will eclipse Rushmore, spanning over 600 feet wide and 500 feet tall upon completion.
Something tells me that Crazy Horse would also be less than pleased, since the Black Hills were considered sacred to the Lakota. But monuments seem to often be less about the real people they depict and more about the ideals we've come to associate with them -- in the case of Crazy Horse and the four presidents, things such as courage, vision, honor, foundation. Maybe the Lakota already saw that in the rock, before any carving was done. I think I glimpsed some of that earlier, while hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, and again, through all the manufactured beauty around Mount Rushmore.