I was deeply touched by the Mt. Rushmore firework display that President Trump and Kristi Noem did during the 4th of July Celebrations of 2020. I was riveted by the entire ceremony and still remember watching the complete coverage on television. With Air Force One flying in front of Mt. Rushmore while landing at Rapid City for the eventual arrival of Trump to give his holiday speech, the whole event was a reminder to me that all was right with the world. After all, it was a hostile election year, the world was looking to destroy us all who voted and supported President Trump, and we were deep in the lockdowns at that time for Covid. We had no idea if we were even going to have an NFL season at that point. The world was a mess, and this firework display in the Black Hills was the first time a large group of anybody had gathered without social distancing and the stupid Covid masks to do anything. It took a lot of guts for South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to allow the event, let alone for Trump, to attend personally in a campaign-style get-together. It was a fantastic event to see, and I savored every moment of it. It impacted me so much that within a year, I would visit there myself with my family to stand in the same spot that Trump had given that magnificent speech.
As I said, I have been traveling a lot so far in 2021, so far 10,000 miles in my RV visiting the lesser-known parts of the United States that don’t get talked about on cable news. If you watch the mainstream news, which is inspired these days heavily by global expansion interests with a very un-American slant, you’d think that everything was going to Hell in a handbasket. But truthfully, things are much better than they appear, and I had that experience while visiting Mt. Rushmore myself over the last few weeks. I was not disappointed. I spent some good time there with my family, bought a lot of books in the gift shops, and felt compelled to stand in all the places that Trump had stepped. To see how things on that fateful firework day looked to him and get a temperature of what America was thinking despite what we hear on the nightly news. Mt. Rushmore is the kind of place everyone should visit; it is in many ways more critical and honest than Washington, D.C. is. I’ve been to D.C. several times, but not Mt. Rushmore. Rushmore is one of those places that isn’t near anything in my life patterns. So I had to go out of my way to get there. Washington comes up much more often since many things happen around the Capital. Perhaps that’s why Rushmore has managed to preserve much better what the essence of America truly is and has become a palace of intellectualism that has deep meaning and is highly substantive.
I had a moment at Rushmore; the rest of my family was getting ice cream at the fine establishment that was there on-site; it was very crowded, so the line was long. That left one of my daughters and I to go to the nearest book store that they have at the monument. I was looking for treasures I hadn’t read before in books, which I had already read 75% of what they had there. But there was 25% I hadn’t, which led me to a nice stack of books I bought, which I discussed in the video above. As I was buying them, I could look out the window at the bottom of the observation station and see the sculpture. My daughter was looking at the giant mural of Gutzon Borglum and his sculpture rappelling all over the making of Mt. Rushmore, and she noticed that all those hard workers were wearing hats honest to the period. She said, “Dad, you were born a century too late.” Because I have always worn hats, I love hats, especially big-brimmed expensive hats made of leather and felt. I thought about what she said as I looked at my stack of books and replied, “maybe I was born when I was to keep the memory of that time alive and to explain it in these crazy times to people confused and less fortunate to arrive at such a place when maybe it could be the most important thing in their lives.” It’s true; I do love places like that; it is composed of my two favorite things in life, great literature, and studious influence while displaying the far-flung ambitions of people like Borglum. To build Mt. Rushmore there in those Black Hills in the way he did was extraordinary, perhaps for just the purpose of these times, when people needed to remember most why their country was so important and unique.
I was always sure I would go to Mt. Rushmore one day, but my accelerated urgency was because of what Trump had done last year. I had to make my pilgrimage. It seemed to me and still feels that way, as the most important thing I could have done, and somehow I managed to have most of my immediate family there to do it, my two kids, their husbands, and all my grandkids, even the family dog. It was a glorious day, and I spent a bit of particular time with both of my daughters that only they understood. And I stood at that spot where Trump gave his speech and just let the events of the last year wash over me. I wanted to see Rushmore not just for what Gutzon Borglum wanted us to see of his grand sculpture, but for how Trump and Noem had seen the world on that courageous day when Covid ruled the world. They defied it to host a firework display to celebrate our freedom in the way only America celebrates. Yes, I was having a supercharged moment, and I feel thus inspired currently and very fulfilled. Whatever we think of as God spoke to me there, I know what needs to be done. It was a magical place, and since leaving there, I have taken much of it with me with my books purchased at that moment mentioned. I may be out of step with the current, because yes, we should remember what we did well in the past. And Mt. Rushmore was created to have these moments, and there were thousands and thousands of people there for the same reasons as me. They wanted to touch the meaning of America even if all they saw were faces carved in stone and experienced the patriotism of the Black Hills by the tourist traps, which I love, especially in Keystone. I left there knowing I’ll come back often. I recommend to everyone that if you haven’t been, make plans to do so. Go and see what Gutzon Borglum intended to share with all of us, his intense love of America, captured there in an epic format for the future to learn from. And in his small way, and with us to gain from that knowledge, the preservation of America is important and worth fighting for, which is precisely what I intend to do.
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