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President Trump announces new national monument during speech at Mt. Rushmore


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(CNN) — President Donald Trump on Friday spoke to more than 7,500 people while in the shadow of Mount Rushmore.

Much of the speech centered on remembering the country’s past. Near the end, he announced that he would create a national monument dedicated to figures from the past.

After ticking off a list of pop culture icons, Trump announced he would be signing an executive order to establish “a new monument to the giants of our past,” which he said would be an outdoor park called the “National Garden of American Heroes.”

No details on where that monument would be located were immediately announced. A fireworks show immediately followed the President’s remarks.

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Construction on Mount Rushmore, carved in the Black Hills of South Dakota, began during the Coolidge administration in the summer of 1927 and was completed on October 31, 1941. The iconic sculpture features the 60-foot-tall faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

Fireworks return for the first time in over a decade

There were July Fourth fireworks at Mount Rushmore for several years, but they were discontinued in 2009 over environmental concerns, including increased risk of fires.

But the National Park Service prepared an environmental assessment ahead of the event and concluded the fireworks would have “no significant impact.”

Noem has said advancements in pyrotechnics and a strengthened forest led to the decision to have the fireworks return to the site.

“We’re very confident that we have been quite careful in analyzing the situation on how to have a safe and responsible event,” McGee-Ballinger said, citing the environmental assessment.

According to the National Park Service, the agency worked with the state of South Dakota, local communities, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the fireworks contractor and staff to develop a wildland fire response plan and a Unified Command incident management team.

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