When packing up to leave Yellowstone, I chatted with a fellow camper about traveling and our next destination, Mount Rushmore. He told me about how special seeing it at night was all lit up. I was sad to think I would miss it. I didn’t miss it though. We drove through Wyoming, stopping in Deadwood for a brief 45 minute break and headed south to the memorial.
Amazingly, like it was meant to be, we pulled into a parking spot and walked into the memorial with time to spare. BTW It was only $11.00 for an annual parking pass, there is no individual admission charge after you pay to park.
Back to the night lighting ceremony. We entered passing tall pillars with each state flag. Upon reaching the top observation area the speaker began giving information about President Roosevelt. For twenty minutes a soft voice spoke of the history of each great man depicted in stone.
In almost complete silence the lights went on and the mountain was aglow. Honestly I heard the crowd gasp as we all took in the greatness and amazing site before us. It was breathtaking, and to think I almost missed it.
I headed down the side stairs to explore and was stopped in my tracks. All military members current and retired were asked to come on stage. The park ranger acknowledged and thanked the group for their service. Next the ranger asked for assistance in lowering and folding the American flag, again the crowd remain silent during this ceremony. My favorite part of the night was when each military personnel was asked their name and the branch of service they represent. I was honored to see each man and woman, young and old, stand tall and proudly announce who they are and their branch. I loved when instead of simply saying “Navy” “Marines” or “Army” they would say “UNITED STATES MARINE CORP!” or “US ARMY”. Of course lots of Oorah! and Hooah! Just thinking about the freedoms I have thanks to our military choked me up a bit. So glad I got to see Mt Rushmore at night thanks to my open nature and ability to have friendly conversations with strangers. That’s why hubby calls me the ambassador. I love smiling and talking, you never know what you might miss out on if you stay quiet.
Next blog Mt Rushmore during the day.