11-13-16 Sunday Morning, St. Louis

By Scott Shephard

Because Deb and I are frugal travelers, we rarely get a room with a view. Typically, if we stay in a high rise hotel, we are looking out over air conditioning units or the place where delivery and garbage trucks congregate.

But for the next few days, we are staying on the 12th floor at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. As you can see, we have a river view. And, to my delight, we also have a great view of the Gateway Arch. 

Are we splurging? Not really. Deb is one of four representatives for South Dakota at a midwest college conference, which is headquartered in this hotel. I'm a tag-along.

The Gateway Arch is a monument to the westward expansion of the United States. It is also very close to where Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery set off on their amazing journey up the Missouri River to the west coast.

As a person who spends considerable time on the Missouri River in a part of South Dakota that Lewis and Clark explored, it's hard not to be intrigued by the opportunity to look out over this symbol. But it also occurs to me that if I were a Native American, I might see this huge stainless steel arch the way many see Mt. Rushmore: as symbols of of conquest.

So how does one balance these two views? It's difficult, frankly. I guess awareness is a start, however meager that may seem. . . . 

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