Set in Stone

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Welcome to the last stop on our tour of South Dakota. Even though there are many places to visit in this vast state, I saved the most iconic for last. Mount Rushmore. This famous landmark in the midst of the beautiful Black Hills inspires those who visit with a sense of awe. How can something so big be so detailed, so life-like, so real?

The history behind to stone carving intrigues visitors. Seeing how brave men carved the mountain fills visitors with dread and maybe a belly dip or two at the thought of dangling over the face (literally) of a mountain in nothing more than sling. Fear probably snaked through their bodies as they chiseled and blasted and jackhammered their way across the dangerous precipice, but they did it anyway. They woke up every morning, got to work, cinched themselves into a sling, and dangled a thousand feet above the ground. And because of their refusal to allow fear to rule their decision, we today get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

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Before getting a close up of the faces, one needs to amble past each state flag. Every person from every state is represented in this monument. Just like the four men engraved in time represented the entire nation. Hopes and dreams of something bigger, something better live in the stone etched with faces of men who lived their dreams, defied the odds, and did more than hope: they risked it all for something greater than themselves. Sacrifice wasn’t a four-letter word; it was the only word. And through that this nation became a contender.

Imagine if we were to take some of that daring, a dose of that sacrificial attitude. Take inspiration from the faces etched forever in granite. Even though we might never have our faces carved anywhere, we can leave our imprint on those we leave behind: our children, our grandchildren, our friends, family, co-workers, strangers.

So even though life might be daunting and a little scary, strap yourself in and enjoy the view. It’s only at the top of the mountain where the view is staggeringly beautiful and the only place where you can see your journey’s trajectory.

Thank you for coming along on this ride with me. I’ve enjoyed it!

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