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The Other Faces on Mount Rushmore-Part One

Quiz: What four presidents’ faces are carved on Mount Rushmore? You probably easily guessed George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but like me, had trouble remembering the last two.

The third president memorialized on Mount Rushmore is Theodore Roosevelt. And I discovered while researching, that I had been mispronouncing his name all these years. According to a source who asked how to pronounce his name, Roosevelt said, “…pronounced as if it was spelled Rosavelt. That is in three syllables. The first syllable as if it was ‘Rose.’

Our 26th president disliked being called “Teddy,” preferring instead, Theodore, or Colonel after his stint in the Spanish-American War. In fact, one of Roosevelt’s famous achievements was participation in the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry unit during the Spanish-American War.

The homeschooled child who later became president was described as “energetic and mischievously inquisitive.” He liked science and biology, which probably led to his establishing the US Forest Service and five national parks during his years in the White House.

Plagued with asthma as a child, Roosevelt overcame his affliction with vigorous exercise. As a young adult he traveled out west and lived as a cowboy, showing critics that indeed, educated men could have callouses on their hands.

Due to his robust health, Roosevelt survived a bullet in the chest during a speech in Milwaukee. After a spectator in the crowd shot him, our 26th president declined immediate medical help, and chose instead to finish his 90-minute speech. Doctors later determined it would be dangerous to operate, so Roosevelt carried the bullet within him the rest of his life.

A colorful, robust lifestyle accompanied Roosevelt wherever he went. He approached life with an enthusiastic vigor.

When this hearty President died in his sleep at age 60, the vice-president under Woodrow Wilson said, “Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.”

Well-spoken words to honor a truly remarkable man.

What about you? Any thoughts on Theodore Roosevelt? Feel free to comment below.


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