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map of South Dakota showing location of Pierre

The two RV Gypsies
in Pierre, South Dakota
August 21, 2013

Pierre (pronounced PEER) is the capital of the U.S. state of South Dakota. The population was 13,646 at the 2010 census, making it the second least populous state capital after Montpelier, Vermont. Founded in 1880 on the Missouri River opposite Fort Pierre, Pierre has been the capital since South Dakota gained statehood on November 2, 1889, having been chosen for its location in the geographic center of the state. Fort Pierre itself was named after Pierre Chouteau, Jr., an American fur trader of French origin.

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The beautifully landscaped 115-acre grounds of the South Dakota Capitol includes the five-acre Capitol Lake and several monuments and memorials situated nearby.

welcome to Pierre rock
memorial monuments as viewed from the road

The state’s World War II Memorial is set on a peninsula built into Capitol Lake and consists of six bronze figures representing the military branches in which South Dakotans served during World War II.

World War II Memorial
Lee Duquette at the World War II Memorial in Pierre SD
World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial and the flaming fountain

The Flaming Fountain sits in front of the statues and was installed to honor South Dakotan veterans. It is fed by a spring with high natural gas content, and the flame is supposed to burn continuously as the water flows into Capitol Lake. However, for some reason it was NOT flaming when the two RV Gypsies visited, although the smell of the gas was quite evident. The two RV Gypsies were very disappointed that it was not flaming.

The Flaming Fountain
sign

Below is a photo of The Korean War memorial with a wall bearing the names of the state’s fallen heroes and a life-size, historically accurate statue of a soldier. Next to it is the South Dakota State Vietnam War Memorial that contains the names of the 217 South Dakota men who lost their lives in the war, and another life size statue of a soldier.

Korean War memorial

Below are the two statues shown next to the memorials above.

statue of a soldier
statue of a soldier

The South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial is a tribute to the veterans who returned home from the war to fight a sometimes more painful battle on the home front. Vietnam was the first war to be brought directly to the American public’s living room with an unending display of graphic imagery: U.S. soldiers firing at unseen enemies in jungles and across rice paddies; medics dodging enemy fire to reach the side of a young soldier covered in blood and near death; and clouds of black smoke rolling skyward from the burning huts of a village destroyed to keep it out of the hands of the Vietcong. The merits of the war were not just debated at podiums and in war rooms but over dinner tables, in the streets and in the field itself. As casualties increased and the war grew ever more unpopular in the United States, Vietnam soldiers heralded as heroes in the jungles were condemned as no better than criminals in their hometowns. The South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial takes one soldier, as a symbol of the many South Dakotans who served during this violent conflict, and elevates him to the status they all deserve: brave individuals who served their country at a time when it took as much courage to come home as it did to fight. Courtesy of http://www.sdvietnamwarmemorial.com/memorial.htm)

Karen Duquette at The South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial
The South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial
memorial
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Nearby memorials honor the state’s fallen firefighters and law enforcement officers.

memorials for firefighters and law enforecement officers
memorial for South Dakota Medical services
memorial for firefighters
memorial for police
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The two RV Gypsies took a leisurely walk around Capitol Lake.

Capitol Lake in South Dakota
Lee Duquette at Capitol Lake in Pierre
Capitol Lake in Pierre
Capitol Lake in Pierre
turtle at Capitol Lake
turtle at Capitol Lake
butterfly at Capitol Lake
duck at Capitol Lake

A rock fountain and flowers near Capitol Lake

a rock fountain and flowers near Capitol Lake
a rock fountain and flowers near Capitol Lake
Karen Duquette at the rock fountain and flowers near Capitol Lake
flowers and a a rock fountain near Capitol Lake
flowers in Pierre SD
flowers in Pierre SD

The Capitol Building faces towards the south. The building was constructed between 1905 and 1910.

South Dakota's Capitol Building
South Dakota's Capitol Building

The photo below shows the top of the Capitol Building, some flowering bushes and a bit of the two RV Gypsies' truck parked behind the flowering bushes.

South Dakota's Capitol Building

Beautiful flowers were all around the area.

Beautiful flowers
Beautiful flowers

The Fighting Stallions Memorial honors eight South Dakotans, including Governor George Mickelson, who died in a plane crash in 1993. This same statue was seen at Crazy Horse.

The Fighting Stallions Memorial
The Fighting Stallions Memorial

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