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Back in 1941, after Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a retired physician and president of a local tourist club, Charles W. Bressler-Pettis, devised an idea to erect a unique monument in Kissimmee, Florida, that he hoped would inspire American solidarity in response to the attack. He wrote to the governors of each state and requested them to send him local rocks. Soon rocks of every shape, size and type began to arrive. There were native granite, quartz, small boulders, fossils, and pieces of old buildings. These were collected by local government and civic organizations, as well as area businesses and individual residents. President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself donated a rock from his estate in New York. Pettis also added is own collection of rocks from his prior travels all over the United States.

As a result of Pettis’s effort, a towering step-pyramid weighing an estimated 50 tons was erected in Kissimmee in 1943. At the top sits an American eagle and a flag of the United States, resting on a blue concrete orb.

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Photo credit: Rain0975/Flickr

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