Monday, August 6, 2007

Land of the Free

Have you been to Stone Mountain? I have. As a kid we lived really close to the mountain and my dad loved to run. About 3 nights a week we would go to Stone Mtn. after dinner so he could run. He would run around the mountain, up the mountain, near the mountain, you name it. We would take our bikes and try to keep up, but usually ended with us giving up and circling the parking lot.

As an adult we don't live really close to the mountain, but we've been a few times in the past few years. Showing our kids, checking out the new things, etc. Lots of amusement activities have been added over the years so there's a bigger draw for the kids.

We used our trip yesterday to do less "fun" and more history with our girls. They learned about the famous carving on the face of the mountain. I learned something new as well. The carving on the mountain is the largest high relief carving in the world. I never knew that it was actually that much larger than Rushmore. I've never been to Rushmore, but I had visions of it being much larger than our little carving. The funny thing is that the artist who did Rushmore started on Stone Mountain, but did not complete it. Years later instead of finishing what Gutzon Borglum started, they blasted it off and started anew. Speaking of our not so little carving you can see by my photos a bit of the scale. This is my six year old in the mouth of "Black Jack", General Lee's horse. Of course you can't actually get to the carving, but they had a life size reproduction of the lower horse jaw. (photo from my phone, ick.)

If I was all Dave-like I could have provided you with a nice depiction of how this pans out to an insert with lines and scale and whatnot. However, I'm not, so I'll just tell you. She is in the mouth of the horse in the front with it's head up. That may give you an idea of how big this carving really is. Unbelievable. The detail is incredible. Something funny is that while skilled artists began this work and vision, it was eventually completed by a stone mason with no artistic training or background.

In the evening we stayed for the Laser Show which they show on the carving. It would not photograph, but it is a cool show and set to some good music. Since my childhood this show has been about as country redneck as you can go when it comes to music. They have actually updated the song list to include everyone. They even threw in some 80's synth with Ray Lynch which made Kevin's ears perk up. The show is fun, but since the very beginnings of it the main focus is on the history of the south and pride in America. The final song is and will probably always be, God Bless the USA, by Lee Greenwood. No matter what you did during the day this show brings you back to the old south and the war that brought the north and south together. It also reminds us that we are indeed free and that freedom comes with a price. No matter what your stance is on the war of today, no matter how disgruntled you can feel towards our government, you can't help the rush of emotion and pride for our country and our soldiers. And you can't help, but to stop, for just a minute, and realize what we take for granted most days...our freedoms and those moms, dads, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters that are out there, doing what they can, so we can remain the land of the free.