Halloween in South Dakota is more than just dressing up and getting candy. It marks the anniversary that the Mount Rushmore National Monument was declared completed.

October 31, 2020, marked the 79th birthday of the monument that, along with the Statue of Liberty, has become an instantly recognizable worldwide representation of America.

The monument was started by sculptor Gutzon Borglum on October 4, 1927. Unfortunately, Borglum would not live to see the completed project as he died just a few months earlier on March 6, 1941. Gutzon's son, Lincoln, stepped in and wrapped it up.

The first time I saw Mt Rushmore was in 1991, it's 50th anniversary. My parents and I hopped on a plane from where we lived on the east coast and flew to Bismarck, ND where my grandparents lived.

We loaded up two cars with extended family members and drove down to Rapid City where we stayed for three days and hit every tourist trap in the Hills. But the one thing that stood out to me was Mt Rushmore.

After seeing it on TV many times, I wasn't ready for how it would appear in real life. I was in awe. The only thing that beat Mt Rushmore was the first time I saw the Grand Canyon, but it's hard for men to compete with God's handy work.

Many years later I ended up working at a Rapid City radio station. I bought an annual pass and would drive up to the monument at least once a month, even in winter.

And to think such an iconic monument is right here in South Dakota.

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