Mount Rushmore National Memorial

After a nice drive through Custer State Park complete with wild donkeys, bison and deer, I found my way to the Mount Rushmore road. From the one lane forest highways, the road turned into a four lane cement freeway, I thought this had to mean something substantial was up ahead. Sure enough just a few minutes up the hill, the faces in the rocks emerged.

The sun was just setting behind making the moment all that more dramatic. People told me about Mount Rushmore, I always thought it wouldn’t be anything spectacular, but I made a big mistake. The shear size is enough to inspire awe, as I got closer the monumental size of the project became clear.

I made my way up the steps to the state flagged walkway and had a great shot taken, one more face to add to the monument.

Hundreds of people and thousands of hours to carve these faces into stone. One inspires me more than all others. Of the four faces, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln, Jefferson is my favorite and an idol to me. I look at him as the ultimate systems designer. One of my business goals is to create businesses that run themselves and grow without me. This demands creating a framework and system to not only meet the current needs but be able to grow and adapt to meet future needs. Few others did this on quite the scale of Jefferson. In one short document, The Declaration of Independence, Jefferson laid a framework upon which this entire country is based. To this day, over 200 years later, the document still serves as the basis of all our national ideals, guiding presidents and countrymen alike. Rather than create intricate, era specific doctrine, Jefferson sought to outline the fundamental framework of common ideals. This ability to boil things down to the fundamental guiding principals leaves me in awe and drives me to continuously rethink how I can apply such thinking to my endeavors. We owe our nation to Thomas Jefferson. Surely the best laid plan needs talented people to carry it out and the other faces on this monument and great people of American History all filled these positions marvelously, but it was the mastermind Jefferson that laid the framework upon which these others built and grew this great nation.

They took a time for the formal Flag Lowering and Honoring Armed Service Members by having veterans lower the flag and fold it.

This was followed by the Lighting Ceremony which left me with in awe and gave a full appreciation for acts of these men of Mt. Rushmore.  It easily made the whole trip worthwhile.  From the darkness the faces slowly illuminate, with our national anthem playing, it brought a tear to my eye.

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