Strong and United - My Family Travels
Mt. Rushmore
Mt. Rushmore
Me and Mount Rushmore
Me and Mount Rushmore

Since I was a little girl, I have been blessed with a family that loves to travel. As a family we have traveled to places such as Arizona, Canada, Maine, and California. As a New Jersey resident for my whole life, these were very unique opportunities. However, it wasn’t until this past March, that one of my family vacations had a large impact on my life.

When I began my junior year of high school, I started acting completely different than the person I really am. My family and schoolwork has always come first in my life but now, I was letting friends and work get in the way. When my dad announced that we would be going to South Dakota over spring break, I was less than thrilled. All I could think about was how I was going to be half way across the country for more than a week and I wasn’t going to be able to see my friends. But I knew I had no other choice but to go with my family.

The first part of my vacation entailed driving down to Baltimore so we could catch a flight from Baltimore Washington International. On the way down, I kept primarily to myself. I watched movies and listened to my music on my iPod and didn’t interact much with my family. I kept this attitude all the way from Baltimore to Colorado, from Colorado to Wyoming, and from Wyoming to South Dakota.

Our main purpose for the trip was located in Keystone, South Dakota. My father had always dreamt of going to see Mount Rushmore. However I did not see the appeal. To me, it was just a mountain with carved faces. I had no idea that it was this monument that changed everything.

As we walked along the snow lined observation path, it was almost as if I had an epiphany. I was watching my little brother throw snow at my dad when I realized how much I had missed hanging out with him. I became aware of how unhappy I had been without my family. Then I looked up, and I saw the faces of Mount Rushmore staring down at me. How could I not see that this carving was absolutely amazing? Not only was the detail of the faces outstanding, but this monument represents so much for our country. This monument commemorates the lives of four remarkable men who dedicated their lives to keeping America strong and united. It was because of my trip to see these four men, that I was able to be reunited with my old self and my family.

The rest of my vacation was much more enjoyable. My family and I got along wonderfully as we went through wildlife preserves and historic towns. We even were able to go to a sunrise service on Easter morning at Mount Rushmore. Although my vacation only lasted a week and a half, the impact it had is still felt by me and my family. When I came home, I made much more of an effort to balance school, work, friends, and especially family. 

Now, with only one more year left before I go off to college, my family and I are making the most of the time we have together. Thanks to my trip to South Dakota, my family is once again, strong and united.

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