My family went on vacation recently and we had a fantastic time. We visited the national monument at Mt. Rushmore and various sites around Rapid City and then headed north to The badlands in North Dakota to visit the inspirational and fantastic natural splendor of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
I will be and all people of this great land of ours should also be, forever grateful for Theodore Roosevelt’s foresight and understanding when he created the National Parks and Forest system. In the late 1880’s, Theodore Roosevelt visited the area and stayed to try his hand at ranching, he got more than he bargained for in a healthy respect and appreciation for the natural beauty of the North Dakota wilderness.
Back in 1849 on the last day of the Congressional session a bill was passed that created the Department of the Interior, they were in charge of all domestic internal affairs of our nation. Part of this has become the National Parks and Forests of our country.
The parks and forests are a natural resource that has been in danger of becoming extinct. President Roosevelt could see all over the country that natural areas would soon be destroyed due to population expansion and careless people not taking the time or energy to try and save these resources for future generations. He made great efforts and started the country and lawmakers on a road to creating these protected areas for the future of our country and the generations to come.
Today we can be thankful for his and others efforts to save these and other great national treasures. We must preserve these areas of natural beauty and hope that for generations to come, we will have these wonderlands of nature to enjoy and marvel in. The animals and plants of these natural areas are a vital part of the ecosystem of the world and the 26th President of the United States could see that something needed to be done, and quickly.
He saw for himself the gigantic Bison diminishing before his eyes and could hear the stories on late nights with fellow ranchers of the dwindling numbers of other animals of the Badlands. The same can be said for the man made national treasures of our country; the Liberty Bell, the monuments to great presidents, our lands dedications to people great and important in whatever way they have contributed to this freedom and democracy. All our national treasures are in danger from the same thing.
Weather, erosion, degrading materials, age, sun, these are not things that endanger these great monuments of our country and the people that helped build it. Our own people, our citizens and visitors of these sites are the ones that are destroying the statues, pictures, sites, forests, and parks of our country.
Graffiti, littering, stealing, careless use of fire and thoughtlessness, the general ‘I don’t care’ attitude of many are what’s killing these great treasures.
The graffiti is one of the most prevalent and damaging things that is obvious to anyone who cares to open their eyes and look at these treasures. We stood about ten feet in front of the cabin that Teddy Roosevelt had bought and used in the Badlands area during his ranching days there. The front door was full of carved initials and words, a tribute to the many who had thought to leave something of their own behind. A legacy that they could proudly say they had been a part of, the raping of these great memorials.
The cabin had been used as a traveling display to show the greatness of a man who, from humble beginnings and personal troubles overcame many obstacles and became a great and mighty President. The many accomplishments and hardships of Mr. Roosevelt contributed to his becoming President Roosevelt. He had seen that something needed to be done and he said over and over again that it would be. He even came up with a slogan that became very popular during the time, Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
This saying led others to overcome problems, not only problems of their own, but toward looking out for others and helping where they could, in the ways that they could. Many saw that, if a man could overcome physical hardships, emotional set backs and personal difficulties, and still worry about the whole country and saving the lands and natural resources for future generations, maybe they too could contribute in their own way, however small. Many did just that, President Roosevelt motivated Congress to pass laws setting aside lands for these future generations, and now many of them are wrecking them, defacing them so their own personal legacy of vandalism can live on.
If these people are so worried about having something of their own life become part of history, they should do something positive, instead of ruining things that people of the future will look at and cringe. I looked at that door and frame and thought to myself, before the tour guide said a word about all the vandalism and such, that this was a shame done to a great man and President of our great country. That people have done this to his home, and could so thoughtlessly destroy what he worked so hard to accomplish, was a travesty of our nation.
I felt that something had to be said about this, and I would do it. I could tell that the ones who carved their initials and other things on the door had no appreciation for what the past owners of that cabin had done for our great nation. They could care less about what had been accomplished and decided at that very doorway of a future President. The words written are a testament to what later occurred at the same desk that Theodore Roosevelt sat at, he could look over his shoulder and see the same door that sits there today.
“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”
Does this have to mean that we deface and ruin that which we have inherited, is the part some wish for to destroy and ruin, instead of preserve and protect. I cannot understand wanting to do these things, but then again, I am trying to leave my own legacy in history. But I like to think, and truly feel that I am doing so in a healthy and positive manner. I am writing about what is happening here and at other places, that and doing my part by abiding and respecting the rules and laws that govern these places and objects.
I do not treat these national treasures with such disrespect that I would not be able to tell my friends, family or a stranger about them and have to worry about the consequences of these actions. I do not walk around, trying to leave behind a legacy of my own in such a negative way that there is a fine and jail sentence waiting for me if anyone catches me doing it. I cannot believe that people want to leave something of themselves behind for future generations that is so negative and stupid that others see it and shake their heads in sorrow and disgust.
We have a great nation, and we should strive to better our nation instead of destroying it. We should take greater care and greater vigilance trying to help protect these sites and make them last for as long as we can, in such a state that they are natural and preserved for others to enjoy and behold themselves, instead of only being able to see them in pictures or movies. We have the duty to those that have strived and given their lives in the past, and are doing so today, to preserve our way of life, our very freedom and the peace we enjoy at home.
The monuments and dedications to those for whom we are forever in debt for these freedoms and our great nation are a lasting tribute to these very people that have given so much to us. Our current freedoms, nation and very land we live on are a great resource and should be preserved and protected for future generations to enjoy and live in.
We should do our part and help protect them and the lands we are able to visit, the great National Forests and Parks. The monuments and dedications to these people and the land we live on should be saved, cherished and preserved instead of raped and desecrated.
We should be proud and we should show our respect to the ones who have gone before and to those who serve and protect our very way of life. We should protect our land and the areas that have been set aside for future generations to behold and marvel at.
You can do your part to help our natural resources and the protected lands and residents of those lands. Do not leave your mark on these great sites, but instead leave your tribute of respecting the laws and rules of the parks and monuments. Leave behind your gratitude for others who have let you enjoy these sites, and give thanks to those who continue to preserve, protect and conserve these great natural resources of our country.