2000 Mount Rushmore
International Writing Contest
Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln:
Presidents with Visions for America

If they could speak today,
what might they say?

College Poetry and Prose Winners
College Poetry

By Faith Abraham: (Lincoln)

By faith Abraham gave his Isaac
offering him on the altar of war.
Laying his own life down after victory
Gettysburg, Appomattox, and more.

Six score and seventeen years ago,
this father brought forth a word
remembering fallen heroes
and consecrating the ground
where each man fell in defense
of his home.

Were he to see the state of the union
just as it stands today,
brother hates brother,
one against other,
was this what was intended to be?

Would the springs of his eyes
well up and flow
down the cheeks so regal and plain
as he gazed on this bloody sea?

An end to slavery, an end to war,
no more division among brothers.
Remembering fallen dreams
and consecrating the ground
where each tear fell in defense
of his hope.

By faith Abraham followed his Lord
to a land that God would show him.
He caught a glimpse of the promised land
and wonders why we've left it behind.

Brett Campbell, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisianna


With Eyes Open: (Washington)

Here I sit, perched upon my rock
Keeping a watchful eye on my precious flock!
My friends, all different but unique
Come, by millions, to visit my peak!
Some come with little ones to greet me
And others to relax in the shade of a tree!
We sit and talk about what has occurred
In our beatitful home, our only world!
Some come to think and reflect on their day
while the little ones run and play!
Just to escape for one day the fast pased city
And enjoy our National Parks, majestic and pretty.
It gives me much joy to see the smiles
And I always ask my friends to stay for awhile!
My friends know that they always have a home here
A place where we shout and cheer!
A place where we remember what we share
Liberty, justice, freedom and opportunity fair!
For this, I am proud to say
That America is where I want to stay!

Jeffrey O'Hearn, Moline, Illinois, Saint Louis University


Together in Thought

Upon this mount us four have sat
With but a place to hang our hat

We see the world as one should
with a common glory, and a common good

United by actions, titles, and thoughts
We recall the days that the world was taught

Not only by what WE said and did
But by our parents, our friends, and even our kids

And so, as we enter the year of the zeroes
Let us not forget people, let us not forget heroes.

Krista Shackleford, Mount Allison University, Charlottetown, PE, Canada


I Cannot Tell A Lie: (Washington)

Dear Sons And Daughters,

I cannot speak
to tell a lie

So listen to my countenance
to mine and those of my bretheren
the followers of my vision who now stand beside me
and who march in foreign fields
and who still sing when their eyes
embrace the flag

I look down on you.
Not as a god, nor tyrant, nor giant.
My sons and daughters,
Who feel the days of fighting for freedom
are over,
Who feel love everywhere,
and who see me and my collegues
as stone reminders
of a past well shaken,
shaken of war and hardship and solid religion...

My sons...daughters...
I look down
I look down and see a world I never would imagine,
an America as fresh and fragile as the one
I set foot upon so many years ago...
I wish you the best,
sons and daughters.
I set you free, out of the nest
to discover what I have just discovered.

America, I cannot tell a lie.
I weep.
I truly love thee.



If my nose were a rose: (all 4 presidents)

If my nose were a rose
Would you think of me weak?
If I else had a beak
Would you climb to this peak?
To marvel at art-work,
Timeless glory in stone.

If my story weren't a tome,
Would you head right home?
"Oh Never mind the man
With a rose for a nose."
For where a rose does grow
It is you who will find of the thorn.

Julie Schlafer, U of Cincinnati, Ohio

College Prose


Teddy Roosevelt looking down upon the harried hoards of tourists at Mt. Rushmore would let out an exasperated sigh. He would watch the people like a father does when his child has acted up once again despite all warnings, and then maybe he would remember his own words from days long gone.Perhaps, he would hold his thoughts about our self-centered lives and then whisper out across the country like a great prarie-wind those wise words again.

"It is not the critic that counts, nor the man who points out where the strong man stumbled, or where a doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, and who comes up short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. The man who at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who never knew victory or defeat."

Then he would roar, "STRIVE VALIANTLY!"

Daniel Marcou, U of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI


Teddy Roosevelt

"Well, I'll be dog-gone-it. It seems that I'm remembered best for being the namesake of all these things called Teddy Bears. You see, it all started with a bear hunting trip. I was a gonna kill me a bear! But then I saw this cute cuddly little baby bear, and I just couldn't shoot him. Nope, just couldn't do it. Weelll, the news media picked up on this, and had a ball with it. Soon one of the stores started sellin little stuffed bears with the name Teddy bear, after me of course. I guess that's what started it all. Oh well. At least I'm remembered...and I have my face on a really big rock to prove it! That Mount Rushmore is really something. It musta taken years for someone to do that. I wonder how I got lucky enough to be up there? I tell you what though, the Crazy Horse monument is really going to be something too! I'm just glad I made a difference...Even if it was only in the life of a little brown bear."

Stephanie Treglown, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL


Abe's Heed

It is truly amazing how far my beloved country has progressed. Computers and car, I understand are only a smidgen of how far we've come.

The elimination of inequality is my no means complete. But given what it was in my day, the strides been made is commendable. Who could have imagined my hopes and dreams would becoming a reality! A meritocratic society -no longer are people condemned because of their gender or creed and have no rights to vote.

But my people, you know I always speak the truth and from my perch on Mount Rushmore, I caution that with these advances comes the bad. Be wise my brethrens, weigh the cost! I left this world because of an act of violence and this violence has grown drastically since. Take heed!!!

There‚s something foul in the air. Our lovely air ˆit‚s been polluted. All these are harmful to my people. For now, I am safe on Mount Rushmore, but soon, if these trends continue, the consequences, oh the consequences!!!

So, my people, you‚ve done well thus far and in you I place my trust that you‚ll take heed and protect the wonderful world God gave to us.

Nicole A. Grant, Antigua State College, St. John's, Antigua


Memoirs Of The Presidents: (Washington, Lincoln)

"If the English had only excercised restraint we may not have become the great nation we are today" Washington

"Now that brother has stopped fighting brother and families are no longer divided, let us make this solemn pledge among ourselves: Never again shall brother rise against brother and families fall apart and lay in wait for the spoils of war to prosper ourselves at our brothers expense. Let us be able to say this without anyone denouncing us: our nation has and always will be the champion of all civil rights upon the face of this earth and it is the most beautiful because we made it so and may the ghosts of the civil war be laid to rest." Lincoln

Gerald Seah, ST John Fisher's College, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


Sunscreen: (Washington, Roosevelt)

"I've been enjoying this beautiful landscape for a while now, and I've come to be a bit wrinkly and brown. I wonder why this is?," said Washington one day, "Well my boy," replies Roosevelt, "Those fellers from the government have been saying that the sun is what causes this problem for you." "I don't believe it," says Washington, "In my day the sun was the cure for all the ills of the human body." Well," ponders Roosevelt, "Every' darned hiker, or biker, or tourist that comes up here is talking about his sunscreen." "Are you daft, man," says Washington, "that's just the pipe talkin', there aint no such thing as sun- screen?" "You betcha there is," says Roosevelt, "and you'd best get some, I think all this sun exposure is going to your head."

Rebecca Haws, Whittier College, Whittier, California


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