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In Her Own Words: Old Man of the Mountain was born in fire, sculpted by ice

  • ** FILE ** In this July 14, 1997 file photo, a volunteer crew works on New Hampshire's famous landmark, the Old Man of the Mountains, 1200 feet above the valley floor in Franconia Notch, N.H. Viewed from the opposite side of the profile typically seen, climbers David Nielsen, top, near the Old Man's cheek bone, and his wife Deborah Nielsen, bottom, apply epoxy to cracks in the granite. The outcropping in front of the top ledge is the profile's brow. (AP Photo/Andrew Sullivan, File)

    ** FILE ** In this July 14, 1997 file photo, a volunteer crew works on New Hampshire's famous landmark, the Old Man of the Mountains, 1200 feet above the valley floor in Franconia Notch, N.H. Viewed from the opposite side of the profile typically seen, climbers David Nielsen, top, near the Old Man's cheek bone, and his wife Deborah Nielsen, bottom, apply epoxy to cracks in the granite. The outcropping in front of the top ledge is the profile's brow. (AP Photo/Andrew Sullivan, File)

  • ** FILE ** In this file photo from the 1990's, crews work on the symbolic Old Man of the Mountain in Franconia, N.H. New Hampshire awoke Saturday, May 3, 2003, to find its stern granite symbol of independence and stubbornness, the Old Man of the Mountain, had collapsed into indistinguishable rubble. The fall ended nearly a century of efforts to protect the 40-foot-tall landmark from the same natural forces that created it. Only stabilizing cables and epoxy remained Saturday where the famous ledges had clung. (APPhoto/Jim Cole, File)

    ** FILE ** In this file photo from the 1990's, crews work on the symbolic Old Man of the Mountain in Franconia, N.H. New Hampshire awoke Saturday, May 3, 2003, to find its stern granite symbol of independence and stubbornness, the Old Man of the Mountain, had collapsed into indistinguishable rubble. The fall ended nearly a century of efforts to protect the 40-foot-tall landmark from the same natural forces that created it. Only stabilizing cables and epoxy remained Saturday where the famous ledges had clung. (APPhoto/Jim Cole, File)

  • ** FILE ** In this July 14, 1997 file photo, a volunteer crew works on New Hampshire's famous landmark, the Old Man of the Mountains, 1200 feet above the valley floor in Franconia Notch, N.H. Viewed from the opposite side of the profile typically seen, climbers David Nielsen, top, near the Old Man's cheek bone, and his wife Deborah Nielsen, bottom, apply epoxy to cracks in the granite. The outcropping in front of the top ledge is the profile's brow. (AP Photo/Andrew Sullivan, File)
  • ** FILE ** In this file photo from the 1990's, crews work on the symbolic Old Man of the Mountain in Franconia, N.H. New Hampshire awoke Saturday, May 3, 2003, to find its stern granite symbol of independence and stubbornness, the Old Man of the Mountain, had collapsed into indistinguishable rubble. The fall ended nearly a century of efforts to protect the 40-foot-tall landmark from the same natural forces that created it. Only stabilizing cables and epoxy remained Saturday where the famous ledges had clung. (APPhoto/Jim Cole, File)

Second District Rep. Annie Kuster entered a statement into the Congressional Record in honor of the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Old Man of the Mountain yesterday. Here’s what she said:

I rise today in remembrance on the 10th anniversary of the collapse of New Hampshire’s iconic symbol, the Old Man of the Mountain. Born in fire and sculpted by ice, the Old Man of the Mountain has long been recognized as the symbol of New Hampshire and its people.

The Old Man was completed at the recession of the last ice age sometime during the 8th millennium B.C. The first recorded viewing was in 1805 by Francis Whitcomb and Luke Brooks as they were surveying Franconia Notch. Niels Nielsen and his son David, longtime guardians of the Old Man, spent years protecting him from vandalism and keeping his fragile countenance secured to the mountain. The Old Man has had many honors, including his profile featured on a postage stamp and on New Hampshire’s state quarter.

(Today) at 11:30 a.m. in Franconia State Park near where the Old Man clung to the mountain, people will gather in Profile Plaza on the shores of Profile Lake in remembrance of that day in May 10 years ago. We thank Dick Hamilton and the people of The Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund, a volunteer nonprofit group, charged with creating a memorial to the Old Man.

They built a fitting monument of seven steel “profilers,” when viewed at the correct angle, allow viewers to see the profile as it appeared on the side of the mountain. The sale of more than 700 granite pavers, inscribed with the names of donors, helped to finance the construction of the plaza and monument.

While the Old Man of the Mountain has succumbed to the ages and lies at the base of the mountain amongst the stone of his creation, I am reminded of why we honor him.

In the words of Daniel Webster, “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a giant shoe; jewelers, a monster watch; and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the mountains of New Hampshire, God almighty has hung out a sign to show that there, he makes Men.”

(U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat, represents New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District.)

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