At Mount Rushmore, Trump announces new US heroes park

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, S.D.: President Donald Trump kicked off the country’s July Fourth celebrations on July 3 here telling the crowd their children “are taught in school to hate their own country” and insisting that what he called a radical assault from the left needs to be stopped to preserve the American way of life.

Trump also warned the crowd that the demonstrations against racial inequality that have spread across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis in late May threaten the foundations of American government, reported Voice of America.

In likely response to the toppling of statues by protesters in the country, the President announced that he is ordering the establishment a “National Garden of American Heroes” with statues “of the greatest Americans that ever lived.”  His list includes late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and baseball star Jackie Robinson among past presidents, anti-slavery advocates and others.

His executive order says that the garden will be opened before July 4, 2024.

The president also talked about each man — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt — whose likeness is carved into the massive mountain. He gave only the standard patriotic account of each man without any of the complicated portions of their lives.

He also did not mention that the mountain is sacred to Native Americans who now consider the site desecrated because of the carvings.

Trump said the growing social justice movement in the country “would in truth demolish both justice and society.”

After his speech, there was a fireworks display, the first at Mount Rushmore in about 10 years.

Some politicians, environmentalists and activists had opposed the display because of the dry conditions surrounding the site.

Heroes new and old

The National Garden of American Heroes that Trump has announced will have the statues of following  heroes as per a list circulated:  John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Henry Clay, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison,  James Madison, Christa McAuliffe, Audie Murphy, George S. Patton, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Betsy Ross, Antonin Scalia, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.

The list is almost certain to cause controversy, both by who is included and who is not.

A fireworks display on July 3 at South Dakota’s 2020 Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, S.D.

Image courtesy of The White House/Flickr

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