Mount Rushmore Completed, October 31, 1941
or centuries men have sculpted busts and images of heroes, gods, soldiers, politicians, literary giants, family members and others, in order to remember their lives and deeds. A certain amount of symbolism often attends many statues or profiles, reminding the viewer of principles and beliefs. They are often very fine teaching tools to educate the next generation concerning their debt to the men of the past and to revere their history. Christians, Jews, and Muslims are prohibited from worshipping such images—such idolatry is severely proscribed in their respective Scriptures. Revolutionaries, in their quest to erase the memory of the men or ideas of the past, practice a senseless iconoclasm by destroying monuments, texts, and even cemeteries. The ancient Romans called the action damnatio memoriae, “condemnation of memory.” It has become a commonplace orgy of destruction in our own revolutionary times. Happily, the destroyers eventually become the destroyed themselves.
This Confederate Memorial Carving in Stone Mountain, GA depicts three Confederate leaders of the Civil War: President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson on their favorite horses, Blackjack, Traveller, and Little Sorrel, respectively
There are a number of significant such monuments to great men of the past that still command our attention. Some of the most magnificent sculptures have been carved out of mountains; the most important and memorable ones include the Confederate heroes on Stone Mountain, Georgia, and Indian warrior Crazy Horse in South Dakota. The most popular and most visited of the gigantic carved-in-stone sculptures in the United States, and perhaps the world, are found on Mount Rushmore, also in South Dakota. Those carvings of four popular Presidents of the United States was completed on the last day of October, 1941.
Mount Rushmore with the sculpted heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln (left to right)
The mountain location itself underwent several name changes through the centuries. The Black Hills area where the monument is located, was “granted” to the Sioux Nation by the United States government in 1868 in the Treaty of Fort Laramie. The tribe’s historic name for the mountain was “The Six Grandfathers.” After the discovery of gold in the region by a military expedition led by Colonel George Armstrong Custer in 1874, miners and gold-diggers flooded into the Indian land, until the U.S. government reneged on the treaty, created new reservations nearby for the Sioux, and forced them to live on the newly designated desert plats. The Six Grandfather’s Mountain was renamed in 1930 after a wealthy investor, hunter and prospector, Charles Rushmore.
The Black Hills is a small and isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming