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President Donald Trump said Friday during an Independence Day rally at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota that he has signed an executive order creating a new national monument to recognize and celebrate American heroes from all walks of life.
“Americans must never lose sight of this miraculous story,” the president said of the American dream.
“So today under the authority vested in me as president of the United States, I am announcing the creation of a new monument to the giants of our past. I am signing an executive order to establish the National Garden of American Heroes, a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live,” he added.
The park will feature Americans notable for their scientific, military, artistic, and social achievements.
Following the president’s announcement, which came at the end of his speech, the White House released text of the order which calls “for Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes.”
The president’s order requires that a task force be formed and headed by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, which will then issue a report within 60 days outlining plans for the memorial park including potential sites for it. In addition, the order contains a list of historical figures whose statues will be depicted in the garden.
Those figures include George Washington, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Dolley Madison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, Ronald Reagan, George Patton, Antonin Scalia, Clara Barton, and Martin Luther King Jr., among many others.
Notably, the park will not be dedicated by the president who ordered it built. Even if Trump wins reelection in the fall, the next president will have to dedicate it because the monument is scheduled to be memorialized on the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence: July 4, 2026.
“America owes its present greatness to its past sacrifices. Because the past is always at risk of being forgotten, monuments will always be needed to honor those who came before. Since the time of our founding, Americans have raised monuments to our greatest citizens,” the president’s order states.
The order continues:
These statues are silent teachers in solid form of stone and metal. They preserve the memory of our American story and stir in us a spirit of responsibility for the chapters yet unwritten. These works of art call forth gratitude for the accomplishments and sacrifices of our exceptional fellow citizens who, despite their flaws, placed their virtues, their talents, and their lives in the service of our Nation. These monuments express our noblest ideals: respect for our ancestors, love of freedom, and striving for a more perfect union. They are works of beauty, created as enduring tributes. In preserving them, we show reverence for our past, we dignify our present, and we inspire those who are to come. To build a monument is to ratify our shared national project.
The president also ripped the desecration of U.S. monuments in recent weeks by Left-wing anarchists who have destroyed or defaced statues of Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, and a site dedicated to the honor of black soldiers who fought to preserve the Union during the Civil War.
“Among others, monuments to Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Francis Scott Key, Ulysses S. Grant, leaders of the abolitionist movement, the first all-volunteer African-American regiment of the Union Army in the Civil War, and American soldiers killed in the First and Second World Wars have been vandalized, destroyed, or removed,” the executive order states.
“These statues are not ours alone, to be discarded at the whim of those inflamed by fashionable political passions; they belong to generations that have come before us and to generations yet unborn. My Administration will not abide an assault on our collective national memory,” the order states.
“In the face of such acts of destruction, it is our responsibility as Americans to stand strong against this violence, and to peacefully transmit our great national story to future generations through newly commissioned monuments to American heroes.”
President Trump designated his first national monument in October 2018. Then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the Camp Nelson National Monument in Kentucky, a Union recruitment and training camp for African-American volunteers during the Civil War.
The camp trained more than 10,000 black troops, the third-most of any Union camp.
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