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Mount Rushmore Stands as Patriotic Symbol Every Day
By Tom Adkinson

KEYSTONE, S.D. – The four faces of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial join the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall as destinations that get special attention when Independence Day rolls around. However, the roles played by Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt (founder, expansionist, savior and conservationist) warrant examination every day.

mount rushmore
Mount Rushmore - Image by Tom Adkinson.

The towering sculpture in the Black Hills of South Dakota rises behind the Avenue of Flags and catches every morning’s early light, just as sculptor Gutzon Borglum intended. Borglum also intended the figures to be more complete, but his death and a shortage of funds prevented that. Construction took 14 years (1927-1941) and cost $989,992. Despite the physical challenge, there were no deaths on the worksite.

Five other National Park Service units are within a short distance of Rapid City, the region’s hub city. Four are in South Dakota, and the fifth, Devils Tower National Monument, is in Wyoming. While Mount Rushmore is a popular image in Hollywood movies (examples: “North by Northwest,” “Superman II” and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”) don’t believe everything you see on screen. Alfred Hitchcock only imagined that landing strip on top of the mountain in “North by Northwest.” Image by Tom Adkinson.

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Published July 6, 2018

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