Sunday, June 30, 2013

Monumental Disappointment

Mount Rushmore. 

A symbol of our country and the things which make it great. It took 400 people, 5 years, and nearly 1 million dollars to build it.

Ninety percent of it was carved with dynamite blasting. And yet no one was killed in it's creation. 

As an aside, the only recorded injury was when the brakes went out on one of the cars used to transport workers to and from the top (if they didn't take the car, by the way, they had to walk up 700 steps each day to get to work...after seeing a photo of the "cars", I think I'd rather take the stairs...). One of the men (there were only 4...a car could only hold 4 at a time) attempted to jump to safety...which resulted in a broken arm and leg for him. The other workers in the run-away car were uninjured when another worker threw a steel bar into the wheel and the car came to a safe stop.

But I digress...I doubt you came here for a history lesson, though I'm sure you know by now that you'll probably get some form of useless information in this blog...EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

So being as how this monument is a symbol of the ideals of America, imagine my delight when, as we entered the park, we noticed signs for a naturalization ceremony that day. 

Occurring in only 45 minutes, no less...what a stroke of luck! 

Well, I felt like this was a second chance, of sorts, for me...I had planned for the PBA to watch a naturalization ceremony during this past school year when we covered it in government. 

Sure they were in fourth and sixth grade but is that really too early to teach about our it is supposed to run vs how it actually operates? And yes, I used a high school text book. They got from it what I wanted. We'll cover it again in high worries...lest you be concerned.

Anyway, we didn't ever make it to a ceremony. But this was our chance. Of course we hadn't had an opportunity to eat lunch yet so we spent some of our 45 minutes eating ice cream (well, the 10yo had a hot dog and chips ...he's not one for ice cream. Just milkshakes. I don't know why so please don't ask. I would accuse the hospital of giving us the wrong baby, except he kind of looks like me...and also my dad...) 

Anyway after "The Lunch of Champions," we made our way over to find seats to watch the proceedings. We sat in the sun and baked a little bit...but I was determined to persevere.

This is important stuff for crying out loud! As many issues as this country has, I still wouldn't trade it for anywhere and I don't know of another place that would be any better. For Pete's Sake (who's Pete, anyway...anyone know? To the best of my research, it is a reference to Peter, one of Jesus' disciples...supposedly less offensive to "swear" by him than "The Big Man"...but I can't be entirely sure so don't quote me on it please...) in this small regional ceremony, they had 158 people from 58 different countries who were candidates for citizenship. I think that is glorious! 

So we stayed. 

And suffered a little bit. 

But the PBA didn't even's good people watching, if nothing else.

The ceremony finally began...a little late (it is still the federal government, after all). The color guard presented the American, flag as well as the flag for the state in which the Mount Rushmore resides ...anyone know which state?

Yes, you sagacious readers is South Dakota.

And if you missed it, you need not confess it to anyone. Just consider this your geography lesson for the day and move on.

So after the color guard presented the colors (another name for the flag...hence the "color guard" title...clever, huh?), a local choir (I'm making assumptions here but they had a local "look" about them ...the matching red Polos were a giveaway, I thought ...not judging...just stating facts. I simply want you, the readers who did not have the opportunity to be in attendance, to fully visualize the proceedings).

And yes I've used the word "proceedings " more than once because we were informed that it was a legal court proceeding and we were expected to act as such.

Anyway, after the choir sang The National Anthem, the head judge (I'm sorry but I don't remember his name or title...we didn't get was part of sequestration. JK...) over the "courtroom " lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Before I go any further, let's all take a moment and review it shall we?

 "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, 
and to the Republic for which it stands, 
one Nation under God, 
with liberty and justice for all."

I'll continue now that we have sufficiently reviewed that which you may (or may not) have recited EVERY DAY at school when you were a child.

Now we were going along swimmingly with the Pledge until we got to that know the one, at the very least bc we just reviewed it together.

The part about "one Nation under God"...that's when the judge bungled the Pledge.

Yes, I'm calling him out.

He totally omitted that part.

And I'm pretty sure it wasn't an accident. He was older than me and I'm fairly certain that he, beginning in kindergarten and all the way up through high school, said the Pledge of Allegiance EVERY DAY until he graduated.

And even if he didn't say it, he at least heard it. There's no way he "forgot."

And I don't know if that's what he would claim ...maybe he was choosing that opportunity to make his political statement. But these are probably questions which should be asked of someone BEFORE they are asked to lead something like that in front of a large group of people. "Are you able to recite the pledge, IN IT'S ENTIRETY, without leaving out ANY of it?"

Seems obvious, and yet...

My reaction at the time was "Did that really just happen? "

The audience, understandably, stumbled big time...have you ever heard hundreds of people recite something in unison and then all falter simultaneously? It's slightly gut-wrenching.

I'd be mortified if I were that judge. Maybe he didn't care...but he should, regardless of what truly happened.

However, in spite of all that, I made a snap decision to let it go...because I thought this was an important life lesson opportunity for the PBA.
And the proceedings moved on. 

Next up, we had another speaker who was also a judge and she was marginal but nothing dynamic.

Sorry but she just wasn't. Not saying I could do better...just saying...

The next speaker was a representative from the US Immigration Department. And I thought, "OK, THIS will be good, right?"

He began with the (seemingly obligatory "welcome to our country" statement...they had all begun with that...I understand why but it seemed a little over-killed) and then proceeded to say something about "I don't know your reasons for wanting to become US citizens ...maybe you want to participate in our democracy."

Right there I was done. Anyone want to know why?!?

Someone working for the government should know what type of government we have.

And I pray that those 158 people, who worked so hard to pass what I have heard is a very difficult exam to become US citizens, caught his mistake.

The PBA knew his error.

The United States is a Republic ...not a Democracy.

This guy should be even more embarrassed than the judge. How can we have faith in our government if the people running it don't even know what we are supposed to be?

And with his idiotic statement, I was finished watching the ceremony. We got up and walked around the path next to the monument and then toured the museum. And it was lovely...very informational and all that business. I was able to salvage the visit, and I had no other issues with the ceremony...obviously because we didn't watch any more of it.

I really have more to say about all this, but I will pull the rip cord. This is supposed to be random and shallow and I have clearly deviated, somewhat, from the shallow. Please don't hate me. And I welcome your comments below!

Have a lovely day!


  1. Wow. How disappointing. Mostly about the pledge. The democracy thing, I bet if you did a Jimmy Kimmel poll, most people in this country would say we are a democracy. I hear it all the time. Granted, this government official should have known, but, unfortunately, government officials aren't any more informed than the general public.

  2. Yikes! I would have been disturbed too. Only I am confrontational and I fear I might have been court marshaled because I would have approached the bench at the end to correct the judge. And the speaker. Or I would have been quietly lead away by my more patient husband who would have shushed me.