On the 4th of July, President Donald Trump visited Mount Rushmore in South Dakota to celebrate the nation’s Independence Day. Before the fireworks took over, Trump used his speech to talk about the recent wave of anti-racism protests in the country, which have led to many statues being vandalized across the country.
Protestors have vandalized and toppled statues of many racist figures, such as Christopher Columbus, Jefferson Davis, General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, Admiral Matthew Fontaine Maury, and many more. To the protestors, this act is seen as a way of ridding these political figures of the respect that they are given by people who ignore their oppressive acts. However, President Donald Trump sees these acts as a way to erase American history.
“Our Nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”
He added –
“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”
In the same speech, Trump announced his solution to this problem.
WHAT DID DONALD TRUMP ANNOUNCE?
President Donald Trump announced that he signed an executive order for the construction of a “National Garden of American Heroes,” a garden that would be composed of statues of historically significant Americans.
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The executive order itself speaks of the value of monuments, and how protestors are unleashing an “assault on our collective national memory.”
“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.”
“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 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.”
“To destroy a monument is to desecrate our common inheritance.”
The executive order also outlines the people whose statues would be featured within the garden.
WHICH HISTORICAL FIGURES WILL BE FEATURED INSIDE THE GARDEN?
The order defined “historically significant American” to be “an individual who was, or became, an American citizen and was a public figure who made substantive contributions to America’s public life or otherwise had a substantive effect on America’s history.”
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Examples of “historically significant Americans” are “the Founding Fathers, those who fought for the abolition of slavery or participated in the underground railroad, heroes of the United States Armed Forces, recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor or Presidential Medal of Freedom, scientists and inventors, entrepreneurs, civil rights leaders, missionaries and religious leaders, pioneers and explorers, police officers and firefighters killed or injured in the line of duty, labor leaders, advocates for the poor and disadvantaged, opponents of national socialism or international socialism, former Presidents of the United States and other elected officials, judges and justices, astronauts, authors, intellectuals, artists, and teachers.”
“The phrase also includes public figures such as Christopher Columbus, Junipero Serra, and the Marquis de La Fayette, who lived prior to or during the American Revolution and were not American citizens, but who made substantive historical contributions to the discovery, development, or independence of the future United States.”
The order also names individuals to be featured within the garden.
“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.”