Our chapter on civic culture discusses patriotic sites and symbols. One such site, Mount Rushmore, is on the cover of the book. Seventy years ago today, workers completed carving the monument.
In 1934, Hearst Newspapers sponsored an essay contest. Thirty-seven years later, William Andrew Burkett, the College Division winner, donated a bronze plaque of his award-winning essay. The plaque now hands on the Borglum View Terrace. The essay starts this way:
Almighty God, from this pulpit of stone the American people render thanksgiving and praise for the new era of civilization brought forth upon this continent. Centuries of tyrannical oppression sent to these shores God-fearing men to seek in freedom the guidance of the benevolent hand in the progress toward wisdom, goodness toward men, and piety toward God.
It ends this way:
Now these eras are welded into a nation possessing unity, liberty, power, integrity and faith in God, with responsible development of character and devoted to the performance of humanitarian duty.Holding no fear of the economic and political, chaotic clouds hovering over the earth, the consecrated Americans dedicate this nation before God, to exalt righteousness and to maintain mankind’s constituted liberties so long as the earth shall endure.