Saturday, August 13, 2016

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Last Saturday we were zooming down I-90 on the way to South Dakota from Billings, and passed a sign for the Little Bighorn Battlefield. I hadn't done much research on things to see in Montana since we were in a hurry to get to Mount Rushmore, but the battlefield sounded interesting and we decided to stop.

Of all the things we saw between camping with the cousins and rolling into Illinois on Wednesday, this was the most meaningful to both of us.

The first part of the monument we explored was Custer National Cemetery. The interments here, around 5,000, are soldiers and sailors killed in action or veterans and their spouses that served in the Indian Wars, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam.

The monument also preserves the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn (or Custer's Last Stand) and is a memorial to those who fought in the battle: the 7th Calvary, led by Lt. Col. Custer, and the combined forces of the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. 
The brochure we took from the visitors' center describes the battle as one of the last armed efforts of the Northern Plains Indians to preserve their ancestral way of life. We felt sad and overwhelmed by the tragedy of it, and grateful to have experienced it beyond the pages of a book; our handful of pictures and my words are not at all adequate. Please visit if you have the opportunity. 

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