By Governor Kristi Noem
July 10, 2020
On July 3rd, South Dakota got to showcase our state to not only the rest of the nation but also the world. For the first time in more than a decade, we celebrated America’s birthday with fireworks at Mount Rushmore. The excitement leading up to the event could be felt by everyone in attendance. Over just three days, more than 125 thousand people tried to get tickets to the event, and the lucky 7,500 who witnessed it in person saw quite a show.
South Dakotans know just how beautiful and magnificent the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore are, but it was wonderful to share them with millions of viewers from around the globe. Early estimates suggest more than 5.5 million people tuned in to watch our celebration on just one cable news network.
Our team at the Department of Tourism spent countless hours pulling together this great event. The Department of the Interior’s Secretary David Bernhardt was instrumental in helping us overcome countless obstacles to make it a reality. And of course, none of this would have been possible without President Trump’s dedication to making this event happen. Before I was even sworn in as Governor, I asked for his help to bring fireworks back to Mount Rushmore, and he went to work on it immediately.
In addition to the wonderful fireworks display, we were also thrilled to be the audience for President Trump’s best ever speech. It was unifying and focused on his dedication to the things that make America the greatest country in the world. But he also warned of a sinister threat to that greatness: the radical movement to re-write American history.
Make no mistake, this movement is not about equality. This movement’s attempt to “cancel” the founding generation is an attempt to cancel our own freedoms. Our Founders had their flaws, certainly. But every person has flaws. Without our Founders’ words, ideals, and sacrifice, the world would not have a ringing example of true freedom. We can write, worship, work, defend ourselves, and even protest as we see fit because of these men and their ideals.
That’s what the celebration of America’s birthday is about. It’s about our core American ideal: “All men are created equal.” It’s about the day our ideal was forever enshrined in one of the most important statements of purpose ever written, the Declaration of Independence. It’s about the work of countless brave men and women, including the four presidents enshrined on Mount Rushmore, to live up to that ideal and make America the greatest country ever.
Everyone who tuned in for our celebration also learned about South Dakota’s commitment to that American ideal, to freedom, and to trusting our citizens to exercise their personal responsibility to do what’s best for themselves and their loved-ones. Let us, like our Founding Fathers, pledge our own lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the cause of liberty and self-government, so that we may continue to have the freedom to follow our consciences, build our lives, and live in peace.
And let’s continue to celebrate America’s birthday with fireworks at Mount Rushmore!