Happy Fourth of July! We have some good news and some bad news… What do you want first? Well, the bad news is that for the second year in a row, they cancelled the fireworks at Mount Rushmore due to fire danger. But the good news is that we saw three fabulous monuments in one day! (*gasp!) We began our Independence Day with the Big Boys of Mount Rushmore. We hiked the Presidential Trail, which offered closer views of each of the four presidents. We also got to see the sculptor’s studio and learn more about the project, which actually was never finished!
After Mt. Rushmore, we drove ½ an hour to see Crazy Horse, which is a memorial to honor all American Indians. The story behind this carving is incredible! Construction on the Crazy Horse Memorial began on June 3, 1948 by Korczak Ziolkowski (pronounced “Jewel-cuff-ski”). He spent decades alone on the mountain, drilling and blasting from the granite of Thunderbird Mountain. Unfortunately, Korczak died in 1982, but the memorial continues to be built through the support of his wife and seven of ten children. In 1998, his face was finally completed. No one knows when the memorial will be finished because it is entirely funded by admission fees and donations. Maybe in 15-20 years, we’ll be back with our children to show them how far it’s come!
Our last stop of the day was 2 hours away in Wyoming at Devil’s Tower. This monument is 867 feet from its base to its summit and the circumference is 1 mile. American Indians have regarded the Tower as a sacred site. Some Indians called it Mato Tipila, meaning Bear Lodge. Other American Indian names include Bear’s Tipi, Home of the Bear, Tree Rock and Great Gray Horn. In 1875, on an expedition led by Col. Dodge, it is believed his interpreter misinterpreted the name to mean Bad God’s Tower, later shortened to Devils Tower.