Most people in Bismarck have probably seen the Veterans Memorial at the state capitol grounds. But how many have inspected it up close? It's got a unique distinguishing feature that you'd have to experience up close. Not only is the ceiling a perfect hemisphere, making for some interesting acoustics below...it also has a special way of celebrating North Dakota's veterans every November 11th.
This globe in the middle of the memorial also sits near the focal point of the ceiling above. Strategically placed in the side of the sphere is a tunnel, pointing down at the globe from the southeast.
As the big brass plate on the pedestal of the globe says, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the sun shines through that portal and illuminates the state of North Dakota, which is raised on the map. It is normally polished too, but is somewhat tarnished right now. I'm sure that'll be touched up either for Spring or certainly for Veteran's Day.
I've never been able to make it here at 11am on November 11th, the day that Veteran's Day is always celebrated. Perhaps next winter I'll be able to post a photo of the raised ND illuminated by the 11 o'clock sun.
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If you haven't headed north lately you may have missed the 35 gigantic windmills near Regan, just southeast of Wilton. As a matter of fact, you can see the flashing red obstruction lights atop these beasts from north Bismarck.
There appear to be two clusters of them and will soon total 60 towers in all. They are all accessible by service roads for the curious, but you MUST check in before you go out there. The roads are all marked No Trespassing for visitors who have not checked in.
This picture was taken by moonlight Saturday night from the section line road. While the generators turned by these big boys do make some noise, they are deceptively quiet. Because of that, they're kinda weird to watch. The 80-foot blades move pretty quickly for something so huge.
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These deadbeat geese hanging out north of Bismarck don't fly south for the winter. They've found warmer water near the refinery and power plant and have carved out a nice little niche for themselves here in our fair cities.
Some days you can find them in the corn fields south of Bismarck, other days they're occupying a sandbar by the marina. Today they're just hanging out in a field north on River Road. Why fly south when you've got all this?
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South of Mandan on the end of a short dirt trail is the entry to the Greenwood Cemetery. In fact, these days the access road to the cemetery passes through some seemingly private land (I don't know whose). But I doubt this cemetery ever sees many visitors.
There are only about a half-dozen tombstones remaining at this cemetery, all dating back to the mid to late 1800s. Most are in quite a state of disrepair. The cemetery is maintained, however. I may ask around to find out who...what's important is that it's not neglected. In fact, several of the stones have protective fences around them.
Here's a picture of a couple of the stones. The markings on these stones are really neat. The box with stones on it? I don't know what it is. I certainly wasn't going to tamper with it.
One thing I missed on this hike was a stone that lies flat and has all kinds of weird markings on it. I haven't been out to Greenwood Cemetery since I was a kid, so I don't have a clear recollection of this particular stone. So when there isn't any snow covering it (it's behind one of those protective fences) I'm going to get another picture of it.
Only the base of this stone remains. It has a left-leaning cursive message on the white portion: "Gone home to glory: we mourn not as those who have no hope." Well, the glory of Greenwood Cemetery may have faded, but it still has a quiet charm about it. One can only wonder what's happened to the family lines of those who rest here.
Update: The verse on the base of that white stone is from I Thessalonians 4:13, which says: "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope."
That's where Paul is instructing Christians not to grieve those who have passed away because they have a place in the resurrection.
Verse 14 continues: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
Side note: Theodore Hagerott wrote a book about this cemetery. It may be available at the state library or the ND State Historical Society if you're interested in learning more. Greenwood Cemetery remains in my mind one of Mandan's best kept secrets.
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Not that you'd be able to easily guess it, but they do have somewhat of a website at www.bismanradio.com. Apparently they didn't want to do KLXX.com and KBYZ.com and KKCL.com and KKCT.com ...or they're taken, I didn't check. All their stations are on that one site.
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