“We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”…
(Here omitted, the long list of grievances against the tyrannous King George of England to prove to the world that a new, more perfect union of government was justified for these United States)
…”And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
These final, binding, and treasonous words to the Declaration of Independence are inscribed on a large flat boulder beneath the striking four hundred and twenty foot tower that is dedicated to the birth of our young nation and to its highest ideals. John Otto, Grand Junction’s most noted historic figure, and founder of the Colorado National Monument engraved these strong words. He also carved a way to the summit of the monolith above with broad chopped steps and ladders of protruding metal pipes. The pipes are removed and the words fade, but Otto’s intentions survive and the message holds more truth and conviction than ever. These final words of the Declaration also applied to the group of 34 climbers and Search and Rescue members who’s lives were bound to one another by thin rope as we scaled the symbolic tower to raise Old Glory on the most sacred day in our nation onto the most sacred tower in the valley. As we gathered at the bottom of Monument Canyon I was thrilled at the chance to once again stand atop the signature monolith of the Colorado National Monument. I had grand visions of the flag unfurling over the void of the deep sandstone walls surrounding the high summit.
The mood was decidedly jovial and patriotic as we took our place in a historic day, if at least in our own hearts and minds. Impatiently awaiting the flags presentation I quietly attempted to sing the National Anthem with help to the words from the gracious Kathie Iles. Ascending heat helped hide my stinging tears of pride as I thought of my life having been cradled by such a strong and caring nation. I felt a welling camaraderie nearing the high point of our patriotic display.
All hugged the edge of the tower as the large flag was raised in an Iwojima like effort. We cheered with sincere joy and shared our excitement with the crowds gathered on the roadside rim surrounding us like a semi-circled amphitheatre. The heat continued to rise as the hearty crew gradually descended via lengthy overhanging rope repels to the reluctant shade at the towers base.
The day ended gently but sweetly as the heat swelled in to the night to crescendo with the exploding fireworks display enjoyed by one of the largest crowds in downtown Grand Junction’s history.