We left Billings for the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. For those that don’t know, this is where Custer and much of his 7th Calvary met their end on June 25 & 26, 1876 at the hand of a combined Lakota-Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho force of 1500 to 2000 warriors. I definitely had mixed feelings when I was there, but as I wrote to my friend Jim Bryant, history seems to be the record of mistakes. In this case not a tactical one on Custer’s part, but one of attitude and understanding. We always seem to be catching up to how we, as humans, should behave.
The monument is well done. As the result of extensive records and more modern archeological work, there is a pretty good idea of what took place and where the soldiers fell. At each of these locations is a white marker, No names, just that a 7th Calvary soldier died. There are a very few for the fallen Indians, mainly because the bodies were all removed by their own people. Below are photos of the respective markers.
I really can’t describe how I felt but sadness was part of it. Below is a sampling of the scene as we drove along a 5 mile out-and-back road. I wish I had had more time to spend here.