Monday, February 17, 2014

A Presidential Memorial

In honor of President’s Day I thought I would focus on our most loved presidents.   Of the 44 United States Presidents we’ve had it can be difficult to arrange an order of favorites.   How do you order them when they all faced such different situations when serving our country?   Historians may disagree over an exact order, but there are a few clear favorites when it comes to those that lead our country.
My all-time favorite is Abraham Lincoln, a popular first choice for many.  I LOVE Lincoln! Any Lincoln paraphernalia I snatch up.  I got loads of books on Honest Abe and finally I could enjoy a good Lincoln movie during my lifetime, Daniel Day Lewis sure made a good Lincoln in my opinion.  

But President’s Day is about celebrating more than one president.  So with that in mind I’d also pick Teddy Roosevelt, who seemed so different than the typical president and intrigued me with the stories surrounding him in the history books.  And of course George Washington is typically at the top of lists for a favorite president.  As a founder of our nation, showing bravery on the battlefield, and smarts in office, it’s hard not to respect a man who guided our nation and set a precedent of when to step down.  And finally a fourth favorite among the 44 is typically Thomas Jefferson who had an integral part in drafting the Declaration of Independence, securing land to extend the United States’ power and creating a strong foundation for future generations to look back on.  

If you haven’t already guessed it, these are not only four of MY favorite presidents.  These four leaders of our nation have not only secured their place in our history books, but also in a hillside.  One of my favorite monuments honoring our past presidents, carved into the side of the Black Hills of South Dakota is Mount Rushmore.  This National Memorial is visited by nearly 3 million people a year who wish to marvel at the astounding man-made creation carved into nature’s creation.  When you stand at the base of this gigantic memorial it is hard not to be amazed.

"The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt."
Gutzon Borglum

Clearly I was not the only one to think that these were the best of the best in regards to our presidential leaders.  Even back in grade school when I visited this memorial on a family vacation I was captivated.  I'm looking forward to returning with my own family one day.  At first glance you might be thinking whoop dee doo, faces in a hillside isn’t all the impressive.  But when I said this memorial was huge I wasn’t exaggerating.  Curious about the size of the faces that grace the hillside, here are all the measurements that make up the enormity of the memorial. 

Mount Rushmore and the Avenue of Flags
Heads: 60 feet.
Nose: Washington’s is 21 feet the rest are approximately 20 feet.
Eyes: 11 feet wide.
Mouths: 18 feet wide

It’s not just the size that makes it impressive, although that’s a huge part of it; it’s the history behind the construction and the men it was dedicated to.  Check out more on the National Park website and plan a visit to Mount Rushmore to see it in person.  The photos truly don’t do it justice.  You’ll enjoy learning more about these four men, and you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy it.  Learning about the construction, and the details and tools that went into perfecting the memorial will interest artists, mathematicians, teachers, kids, and touch anyone who is proud to be an American.  It seems only right that on this President’s Day we look back at four men that deserved a spot on Mount Rushmore and honor the lasting impact they had on our nation.  

P.S. I found those bobbleheads on the National Park website.  I mean look at these things!   Great gift ideas.... But I might have to treat myself and get a Lincoln, but the Teddy Roosevelt is mighty nice too.  Too many choices!   

Which president will get your head bobbing?

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