My wife and I spent a few days last week visiting one of our neighboring states: South Dakota. It was very relaxing and a much-needed break from the current busyness around elections and legislative session preparation. A few things struck me on our trip.

First, we visited Mount Rushmore. It is really an amazing site and well worth a few extra hours of drive time if you are crossing the county and have never seen it. It is a great tribute to some of our founding fathers and the vision they had for our country, despite their character faults and issues. I am so glad that this monument has been spared the defacing so many other monuments have suffered lately.

Mount Rushmore is carved out of granite, one of the hardest materials on earth, second only to diamonds, and a rock that is actually tougher than diamonds. That’s pretty impressive, and undoubtedly one of the reasons why it has been used since ancient Egypt for statues and building purposes. It was meant to last, like our country. We have been through many trials as a nation: wars, the great depression, government scandals and instabilities, internal strife, but by God’s grace we’ve survived, just like the granite that symbolizes the immovable rock of faith and democracy.

The carving of Mount Rushmore took roughly 14 years to complete, and the gentleman who started it never got to see the finished product, which his son eventually finished. And that is an important point. He instilled in his son such a love for our country and the monument, that his heir was willing to finish the enormous task that his father started. How many of our sons and daughters have been taught to love our country at that level?

The second major thing I observed were the prairies. They seem to go on forever, and to be honest, sometimes in a tiresome way when you are driving for hours on end. However, my father taught me something at a young age, particularly as we moved around the country from church to church. He would say, “There is beauty in every place you find yourself, you just need to look for it.” He was a wise man.

After a while, we began to see and appreciate more of the rolling hills on our journey. We noticed the fields of crops that feed millions of people here in our country, and that also make us the largest exporter of food in the world – twice as much as the next highest country. We witnessed the diversity of wildlife that makes this land their home. In the end, we were not traveling through barren territory, but through beautiful hills that make up the heartland of our country.

As Midwesterners, we should be proud of our heritage, faith, defense of liberty and freedoms, and contributions to our country. From Mount Rushmore to the hills of grain, we are truly blessed. Let’s always remember to fight for what we have and cherish. Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota will always be there with you, fighting for the same values.

Thank you for your love for our country and the Midwest.

This land is your land, and this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

When the sun come shining, then I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving, the dust clouds rolling
The voice come in chanting and the fog was lifting
This land was made for you and me

Select verses from This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie


Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director




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