madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

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Dinner With George and the Boys, Follow-Up

So, as I started late last night, I'm now in South Dakota visiting relatives. Rapid City, as a matter of fact. But no visit to Rapid City is complete without going to visit George and the Boys.

Approaching Mt. Rushmore Approaching Mt. Rushmore
My brother-in-law always says Let's go visit George and the Boys, or Let's go have (lunch/dinner) with... and so do I now. This is my second trip here. Also as B-i-L says, always different. The Monument is just outside of a community called Keystone, and it's pretty obvious that Keystone makes a lot of it's income from the tourists coming to see G&tB's. It's not overbearing, at least not to someone who is just passing through to the Monument because one is staying elsewhere...
Quite the Draw Quite the Draw
There's a few more people here than on my previous visit. I expect that's due to it being somewhat warmer this time around. I'll do a comparison type posting sometime in the future (not too distant) to compare and contrast the two visits. Anyway, it was warmer this time than last; downright hot, actually, even after the sun settled a bit and it started to cool... probably still in the high 90'sF/30'sC at this point. Right now, we're still on our way to dinner. The food here is pretty good, though you'll probably want to add pepper or salt to it.
Shortly Before Sunset Shortly Before Sunset
There's a fairly good sized open-air auditorium at the Mt. Rushmore Monument; my sister's Nursing program frequently uses the site for pinning ceremonies. During the summer, there's a daily 'lighting' ceremony starting just before sunset. One of the Park Rangers will come out and do a brief introduction of what the program will entail, and ask some interesting quiz questions for audience participation. The Ranger will speak about one or another of the four president's whose image is carved into the rock above you as you sit there; each one of those faces is about 60 feet/18 metres high. On the day we were there, a Boy Scouts troop from Molina, Kansas was also there. They led us in the Pledge of Allegience, and later in Retreating the Colours, but more on that latter later. Then there's a 15 minute video about the sculptor (Gustav Borglum) and his choice of subject, and about each of the subjects. This takes the audience through sunset (mostly not visible, as the Monument faces mostly south), and the lighting of the monument...
The Lights Come Up The Lights Come Up
The lights fade up; starting very softly as the video ends, and getting brighter as the video completes. For the photo techies viewing these, yes they were longish exposures; 1 - 2 seconds at F8
And Then It's Time To GO And Then It's Time To GO
Then the Park Service brings up the lights of the Auditorium, and it's time to go. Oh, except for one last thing...

Not quite done when the lights come on, that is. Still one more thing do do. After all, they don't leave those lights on all night long at the Monument.
So no, not quite done when the end of the show approaches. Recall that Boy Scouts troop I mentioned. At this time they were assembled on stage to Retreat the Colours (since it won't be illuminated all night, the flag must be taken down from the flagstaff).

What the Park Service also does at this time, is invite all Active Duty, Reserves, Veterans, and family of any individuals Killed in Action onstage also. At that point, the Scout Troop (I expect there's frequently some group that's here and invited to perform the Retreat ceremony) sent up their Colour Guard to Retreat the Colours, which always includes folding the flag. Then, that flag was passed to the assembled Active Duty, Reserves, Veterans, and family who passed it hand-to-hand through the entire group, returning it to the Park Ranger.

I'd put the size of the audience somewhere around 1000 - 1500 people, as a guess; there's a 'balcony' area (the plaza at the top of the auditorium) and I couldn't tell how many people were up there because we were about half-way down the auditorium. I did do a rough head count of the people on stage (not counting the Park Ranger or the Scouts troop) and it came out to this:

Three files of 32 ranks.

I know for sure there were at least two Vets in the audience that didn't go down onstage. I had my camera kit there and didn't want to make my relatives carry it; and my brother-in-law is retired Navy. I fully expect there were other Vets who didn't go onstage either, for whatever their reasons.

Still, it was good to see that Really good.

Today, it's off to one of two places; either Rapid City itself (sis & B-i-L live outside of town, much as we do out on teh Ranch), or Deadwood. I'll let you know.
Tags: family, mt. rushmore, south dakota

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