Journey Across America - Grizwold Style - 6-23-11

June 23, 2011

Posted By: The Whine Warrior

We left Bozeman with the sun shining and the open road calling.  Due to a tight financial budget and a month break in Montana Parent Magazine we decided to drive from Bozeman to Upstate NY for a variety of events including the 65th wedding anniversary of my grandparents, my Mom’s 60th birthday and my 20 year high school reunion.  Talk about time to reflect. 

On our first day we made it to Mount Rushmore, a not so long jaunt from Bozeman, about 6-7 hours.  I personally never thought Mount Rushmore was a must see, but I changed my mind with our first visit and now want to go back and experience it without kids, or maybe older ones who can avoid getting lost while you try to read an exhibit. 

Mount Rushmore was amazing for the kids, ages 9, 6, and 4, and it seemed like kids of all ages were having a great time – toddler to teenager.   We first watched the sunset behind the former presidents.  Next we climbed all over Mount Rushmore.  There is a rock face outcrop below Mount Rushmore.  The kids loved climbing all over its trails.  Then, we walked the exhibit path, somewhat of a challenge for me to read about the former presidents with the children running ahead, but I enjoyed what I could skim. 

Just before the lighting of Mount Rushmore, a high school band from Minnesota played patriotic songs and then there was a “Tribute to Patriots”, a video presentation filled with the people, places and ideas that make our country great.

But the best part was the feeling of pride in America, the feeling that yes, we are a different country than all the rest.  We were the shot heard round the world that changed everything the world knew.  That freedom, equality, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are all of ours.

Politics have become very contentious and polarizing in this country, to the point of disgust by Americans in their elected officials.  Back when the Electoral College was set up, the elected had no trust in the people, but today it is the opposite.  No trust in public officials.   It is inspiring to see the respect sculptor Gutzmon Borghlund had for the former presidents and why he chose those presidents.  For example, Thomas Jefferson is looking up because he was the visionary president.  Learning these intricacies and what these men did, filled me with pride in our country’s past.  Although America isn’t always on the right track, I think we can all mutually agree that it is the best political system in the world. 

As we approach the 235th anniversary of our country’s birth, remember to fly your flag high and proud.  Because although we don’t always agree, politically, we can all agree that we have the most freedom, creative and inspired public, and the most love for our country. 

As parents, how are you instilling the values that made this country great in your kids?  Do they know the meaning of the 13 folds of the American Flag?  Do they know to thank a soldier when they can?  Do they know that MT has one of the highest percentages of veterans and war dead?  Taking them to Mount Rushmore may just give them a little bit more of an idea of what made and makes this country great.  And since in SW MT we live very far away from Washington, DC and the monuments and battlefields, I encourage you to take your kids there.  It’s a great place to enjoy a little slice of Americana.  If you have any tips on how to teach patriotism to our kids we’d love to hear them below!

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