Saturday, July 04, 2020

Ruminations 92: American Eikonoklastes; Reflections on Remarks by President Trump at South Dakota’s 2020 Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration, Keystone, South Dakota

PHOTOS: President Trump's Mount Rushmore speech

"We gather tonight to herald the most important day in the history of nations: July 4th, 1776. * * * Seventeen seventy-six represented the culmination of thousands of years of western civilization and the triumph not only of spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason. And yet, as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure. Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children." (Remarks by President Trump at South Dakota’s 2020 Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration | Keystone, South Dakota )
Destruction of Religion Images (Icons) in Zurich, 1524 / Creative Commons
This was the narrative around which President Trump sought to understand the times, and with which he sought as well to motivate not just resistance but also a pro-active campaign to restore the American narrative to its glories as he envisions it (the full text of the address is reproduced below).   That was an effort that provided as well a space for the vigorous counter narrative in which much of the American popular press and its stakeholders have invested since 2016--a narrative of exploitation and ressentiment (Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals §§10-11 (in the sense of hostility directed toward an object that threatens and impeedes) ) by the President which must make way for a glorious return to that happy period before his election--but more than that, to a space from which the work, left unfinished in 2016, could not just be resumed but completed (See, e.g.,  At Mount Rushmore, Trump exploits social divisions, warns of ...Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Speech to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message). 

As is customary on the day selected for the celebration of American independence, then, passions run hot.  Also as customary on this day, and almost from the establishment of the Union (Republic perhaps only after 1865, and that took an unsuccessful war of secession to sort out), these passions scatter in many directions.  That, certainly, was the felicitous factionalism that was meant to preserve the democratic character of the Republic--uncountable factions each both self centered and advancing self causes (in the name of generalized ideology), and fighting for a small slice of power through momentary alliances with other groups they (mostly) despise and distrust (but less than those they would defeat first). 

The Three Tychai, c. 160 AD, Louvre Museum
One thing, however, appears to remain constant in these rituals.  That constant is eikonomakhia, the  fighting over the breaking of the idols around which the American Republic is said to be constituted.  This is an old battle and one that is hardly confined to the United States.  All great civilizations have had a constant parade of eikonos (literally and figuratively the images it cultivates of itself and its state of being). These eikonos have also been broken (klan; and thus the modern iconoclast) in succession by those who would raise their own idols and the systems necessary to protect the from the next wave of idol breakers.

This serves as the basis for this brief reflection (continuing below) to honor the day collectively acknowledged as the time to celebrate (to assemble to honor) the independence of the United States.; that is to give homage to the manifestation of the mother  tutelary deity  of the United States; its Tyche, its Fortuna ("Artificiality and Naturalness—The Tyche Deity," Lawyers Making Meaning (Broekman/Backer; pp. 217-232). There is a lesson here both for those who would preserve their idols and those who would tear them down--every idol is precariously perched on pedestals that time and the inevitable deaths of those who erected them will inevitably undermine. What is worshiped by one's mother will not survive the maturity of her daughters. Content, then, is critically important, and passionately engaged--but it has only momentary force (something that both idol makers and idol breakers forget, presuming they are acting for the ages). The real question, then, centers on compassion--but that is a characteristics for the age between eikonomakhia.   

Idols are powerful semiotic objects.  They are either the physical or abstract manifestations, signs, animated by the meaning breathed into it the way that "the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen. 2:7). And yet, there is always the danger that the object becomes its essence, that is when the identification of the object and its meaning become fused in a way that the thing becomes what it represents. That fusion of object, sign, and meaning serves as the foundation for collective organization.  It serves as well for the self constitution of the individual.  It is certainly an affectation--viewed from outside.  But who actually spends any time outside of the self--the interior or the social (collective) self?  And so, even as a great many peoples worship the idea of the formless, they cannot help but provide manifestations of that formlessness as a bridge (and then ultimately as the thing itself).  More importantly, for purposes of the cultures of political organization--that impulse to fuse meaning with the idol (object) constructed to house it is then reconstituted as a template through which all forms of social organization are constructed. It is only a very small step from the Deity to the Deity's Holy Writ (the words, the paper, the concepts, and its articulation) and an even smaller step from the concept of a constitutional order to the merging of that concept with and into its constitution.  

Idols are worshiped, then, originally for what they represent, and eventually despite that representation. The thing itself becomes the central element of meaning, and the rituals around the care and feeding of those idols become the central focus of the collective around which a social order is organized.  That are and feeding--the rituals of worship, tend to produce a caretaker class--those individuals invested with the duty to attend to the idol (physically and abstractly).  But it is a small step from the role of caretaker, to that of guardian.  Every idol has its guardians; and every guardians guard not just the idol but their own position as mediators between the idol (physical and abstract) and those who are called to worship (and to those end organize collectively around the object). Almost inevitably, in a collective order in which the idol is merged with its meaning, in which the idol becomes its own meaning, as attested by its guardians at least, it is necessary to develop rituals of coherence.  Coherence serves as the basis for aligning members of the collective toward a singular expression of conformity to the meaning (and its requisites) demanded by the idol, even as it is manifested by the individuals. This amalgam, then, necessarily produces an orthodoxy--a means of fusing the bodies of the collective into a single form of expression (within of course permitted idiosyncratic variation). E pluribus unum

Orthodoxy is unstable.  It can be challenged.  Perhaps the guardians are corrupt or have strayed into error (decided by whom?); perhaps the idol has itself become detached from the meaning that is what holds the collective together; perhaps the idol and its meaning remains intact, but practices no longer are understood to align with the principles.  The issue is rarely about the authority of the idol--and its fusion with its own meaning.  The  issues revolve around purity and authenticity and authority; it revolves around the meaning of the words (that is the way the idol is perceived and understood) or the way that the performance of those principles (the manner of worship in everyday life); or it revolves around the connection between meaning and object. It is almost inevitable that where these challenges become powerful enough, especially against a powerful and entrenched orthodoxy, that the explosion and transformation (either to "return" to purity to to sweep away impurity in the march toward the ultimate state of "perfection") will not be pacific. 

This is not an American problem, though goodness knows Americans believe that they are unique creatures in the ordering of global collectives. Nor is this a characteristic of "modernity" or of "Enlightenment" or of "irreligion" or of "ideology"--whatever.  It appears to be a basic impulse of the human condition, with whatever set of meaning a given collective at a given time manages to infuse that meaning's incarnation. It is in this context that Mr. Trump's speech, and the response of his enemies assumes an appropriate context. As immediate and powerful, and powerfully righteous the contentions, those acquire their power only within the very narrow confines of time and place. It is not for that narrowness any less powerful, or any less able to substantial affect human life within the American collective.  But it is no more than the passing of another wave of passion and counter passion around the worship of idols central to the anchoring of a collective in its own sense of itself--in its sense of right and wrong, in its construction of taboo, and in the constitution of its guardians, its magisterium

The results over the centuries have produced reverberations, however, that survive both idols and the collectives that produced them.  The removal of the Alter of Victory in the Senate of Rome produced that great debate between St. Ambrose of Milan and the Roman Prefect Symmachus that continue to remind us of the inevitable relationship between idol breaker and idol maker (even as in this case their respective roles reverse over the centuries).  Indeed it is the reversal of roles that ought to add a layer of caution to every generation's idol breaker.  It never doe.  But Symmachus reminds us that those who once preserved orthodoxy might themselves be swept away by the re-imagining of the idols into which the spirit of the collective (its Tyche) are made. And indeed, the Memorial of Symmachus to the Emperor Valentinan swept away by the orthodoxy of Ambrose, will in turn rise again after the 18th century as a foundation for tolerance that blossomed until this century when again a new contention among orthodoxies appears to be set to sweep that aside again (Willy Evenepoel "Ambrose versus Symmachus; Christians and Pagans in AD 384,"  Ancient Society 29:283-306 (1998-1999); see also James J. Sheridan, "The Altar of Victory - Paganism's Last Battle,"  L'Antiquité Classique 35(1):186-206 (1966)). 

And there is the paradox of iconoclasm.  Top organize for the purpose fo destroying the idols that expresses the orthodoxy of the current collective does not result in a world in which the collective is free of its idols.  Quite thew reverse, thew power of the iconoclast is inevitably sourced in her own pantheon of idols.  For it takes one orthodoxy to  displace another; it is not possible to do without the idols of collective.  And even as the idols of the old order are smashed, are pulled down, are rejected with the passion with which the principles they represent are rejected as well, even as one set of idols are destroyed, another set of idols, and other orthodoxy incarnated in the idols revered by the new orthodoxy, will emerge.  And when calm returns--and to an outsider--it still appears that the collective remains bound by its idols. But the new idols, and its orthodoxy, as rigid and unforgiving as that displaced, will so supplant the older order that its beliefs will be reduced to myth, its practices to barbarity, and its history recast in the service of the greater glory of the era that emerges.  That, in essence, is the point that Mr. Trump makes--even if he doesn't know it. And for him and his supporters, now fearful of being reduced to the role of a Symmachus of this transitional era, it is necessary top confront the equally determined Ambrose, impatient to displace and erase the old order. 


Remarks by President Trump at South Dakota’s 2020 Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration | Keystone, South Dakota

Issued on: July 4, 2020

Keystone, South Dakota
8:50 P.M. MDT

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. And Governor Noem, Secretary Bernhardt — very much appreciate it — members of Congress, distinguished guests, and a very special hello to South Dakota. (Applause.)

As we begin this Fourth of July weekend, the First Lady and I wish each and every one of you a very, very Happy Independence Day. Thank you. (Applause.)

Let us show our appreciation to the South Dakota Army and Air National Guard, and the U.S. Air Force for inspiring us with that magnificent display of American air power — (applause) –and of course, our gratitude, as always, to the legendary and very talented Blue Angels. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Let us also send our deepest thanks to our wonderful veterans, law enforcement, first responders, and the doctors, nurses, and scientists working tirelessly to kill the virus. They’re working hard. (Applause.) I want to thank them very, very much.

We’re grateful as well to your state’s Congressional delegation: Senators John Thune — John, thank you very much — (applause) — Senator Mike Rounds — (applause) — thank you, Mike — and Dusty Johnson, Congressman. Hi, Dusty. Thank you. (Applause.) And all others with us tonight from Congress, thank you very much for coming. We appreciate it.

There could be no better place to celebrate America’s independence than beneath this magnificent, incredible, majestic mountain and monument to the greatest Americans who have ever lived.

Today, we pay tribute to the exceptional lives and extraordinary legacies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. (Applause.) I am here as your President to proclaim before the country and before the world: This monument will never be desecrated — (applause) — these heroes will never be defaced, their legacy will never, ever be destroyed, their achievements will never be forgotten, and Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: We gather tonight to herald the most important day in the history of nations: July 4th, 1776. At those words, every American heart should swell with pride. Every American family should cheer with delight. And every American patriot should be filled with joy, because each of you lives in the most magnificent country in the history of the world, and it will soon be greater than ever before. (Applause.)

Our Founders launched not only a revolution in government, but a revolution in the pursuit of justice, equality, liberty, and prosperity. No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America. And no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation. (Applause.)

It was all made possible by the courage of 56 patriots who gathered in Philadelphia 244 years ago and signed the Declaration of Independence. (Applause.) They enshrined a divine truth that changed the world forever when they said: “…all men are created equal.”

These immortal words set in motion the unstoppable march of freedom. Our Founders boldly declared that we are all endowed with the same divine rights — given [to] us by our Creator in Heaven. And that which God has given us, we will allow no one, ever, to take away — ever. (Applause.)

Seventeen seventy-six represented the culmination of thousands of years of western civilization and the triumph not only of spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason.

And yet, as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure.

Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.


THE PRESIDENT: 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. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing. They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive. But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: One of their political weapons is “Cancel Culture” — driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America. (Applause.) This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly. We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation’s children, end this radical assault, and preserve our beloved American way of life. (Applause.)

In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. It’s not going to happen to us. (Applause.)

Make no mistake: this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress.

To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Not on my watch! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: True. That’s very true, actually. (Laughter.) That is why I am deploying federal law enforcement to protect our monuments, arrest the rioters, and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT: I am pleased to report that yesterday, federal agents arrested the suspected ringleader of the attack on the statue of Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C. — (applause) — and, in addition, hundreds more have been arrested. (Applause.)

Under the executive order I signed last week — pertaining to the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act and other laws — people who damage or deface federal statues or monuments will get a minimum of 10 years in prison. (Applause.) And obviously, that includes our beautiful Mount Rushmore. (Applause.)

Our people have a great memory. They will never forget the destruction of statues and monuments to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, abolitionists, and many others.

The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets of cities that are run by liberal Democrats, in every case, is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism, and other cultural institutions.

Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains. The radical view of American history is a web of lies — all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition.

This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore. They defile the memory of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Today, we will set history and history’s record straight. (Applause.)

Before these figures were immortalized in stone, they were American giants in full flesh and blood, gallant men whose intrepid deeds unleashed the greatest leap of human advancement the world has ever known. Tonight, I will tell you and, most importantly, the youth of our nation, the true stories of these great, great men.

From head to toe, George Washington represented the strength, grace, and dignity of the American people. From a small volunteer force of citizen farmers, he created the Continental Army out of nothing and rallied them to stand against the most powerful military on Earth.

Through eight long years, through the brutal winter at Valley Forge, through setback after setback on the field of battle, he led those patriots to ultimate triumph. When the Army had dwindled to a few thousand men at Christmas of 1776, when defeat seemed absolutely certain, he took what remained of his forces on a daring nighttime crossing of the Delaware River.

They marched through nine miles of frigid darkness, many without boots on their feet, leaving a trail of blood in the snow. In the morning, they seized victory at Trenton. After forcing the surrender of the most powerful empire on the planet at Yorktown, General Washington did not claim power, but simply returned to Mount Vernon as a private citizen.

When called upon again, he presided over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and was unanimously elected our first President. (Applause.) When he stepped down after two terms, his former adversary King George called him “the greatest man of the age.” He remains first in our hearts to this day. For as long as Americans love this land, we will honor and cherish the father of our country, George Washington. (Applause.) He will never be removed, abolished, and most of all, he will never be forgotten. (Applause.)

Thomas Jefferson — the great Thomas Jefferson — was 33 years old when he traveled north to Pennsylvania and brilliantly authored one of the greatest treasures of human history, the Declaration of Independence. He also drafted Virginia’s constitution, and conceived and wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a model for our cherished First Amendment.

After serving as the first Secretary of State, and then Vice President, he was elected to the Presidency. He ordered American warriors to crush the Barbary pirates, he doubled the size of our nation with the Louisiana Purchase, and he sent the famous explorers Lewis and Clark into the west on a daring expedition to the Pacific Ocean.

He was an architect, an inventor, a diplomat, a scholar, the founder of one of the world’s great universities, and an ardent defender of liberty. Americans will forever admire the author of American freedom, Thomas Jefferson. (Applause.) And he, too, will never, ever be abandoned by us. (Applause.)

Abraham Lincoln, the savior of our union, was a self-taught country lawyer who grew up in a log cabin on the American frontier.

The first Republican President, he rose to high office from obscurity, based on a force and clarity of his anti-slavery convictions. Very, very strong convictions.

He signed the law that built the Transcontinental Railroad; he signed the Homestead Act, given to some incredible scholars — as simply defined, ordinary citizens free land to settle anywhere in the American West; and he led the country through the darkest hours of American history, giving every ounce of strength that he had to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people did not perish from this Earth. (Applause.)

He served as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces during our bloodiest war, the struggle that saved our union and extinguished the evil of slavery. Over 600,000 died in that war; more than 20,000 were killed or wounded in a single day at Antietam. At Gettysburg, 157 years ago, the Union bravely withstood an assault of nearly 15,000 men and threw back Pickett’s charge.

Lincoln won the Civil War; he issued the Emancipation Proclamation; he led the passage of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery for all time — (applause) — and ultimately, his determination to preserve our nation and our union cost him his life. For as long as we live, Americans will uphold and revere the immortal memory of President Abraham Lincoln. (Applause.)

Theodore Roosevelt exemplified the unbridled confidence of our national culture and identity. He saw the towering grandeur of America’s mission in the world and he pursued it with overwhelming energy and zeal.

As a Lieutenant Colonel during the Spanish-American War, he led the famous Rough Riders to defeat the enemy at San Juan Hill. He cleaned up corruption as Police Commissioner of New York City, then served as the Governor of New York, Vice President, and at 42 years old, became the youngest-ever President of the United States. (Applause.)

He sent our great new naval fleet around the globe to announce America’s arrival as a world power. He gave us many of our national parks, including the Grand Canyon; he oversaw the construction of the awe-inspiring Panama Canal; and he is the only person ever awarded both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was — (applause) — American freedom personified in full. The American people will never relinquish the bold, beautiful, and untamed spirit of Theodore Roosevelt. (Applause.)

No movement that seeks to dismantle these treasured American legacies can possibly have a love of America at its heart. Can’t have it. No person who remains quiet at the destruction of this resplendent heritage can possibly lead us to a better future.

The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of social justice. But in truth, it would demolish both justice and society. It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance, and it would turn our free and inclusive society into a place of repression, domination, and exclusion.

They want to silence us, but we will not be silenced. (Applause.)



THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

We will state the truth in full, without apology: We declare that the United States of America is the most just and exceptional nation ever to exist on Earth.

We are proud of the fact — (applause) — that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and we understand — (applause) — that these values have dramatically advanced the cause of peace and justice throughout the world.

We know that the American family is the bedrock of American life. (Applause.)

We recognize the solemn right and moral duty of every nation to secure its borders. (Applause.) And we are building the wall. (Applause.)

We remember that governments exist to protect the safety and happiness of their own people. A nation must care for its own citizens first. We must take care of America first. It’s time. (Applause.)

We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child, of every color — born and unborn — is made in the holy image of God. (Applause.)

We want free and open debate, not speech codes and cancel culture.

We embrace tolerance, not prejudice.

We support the courageous men and women of law enforcement. (Applause.) We will never abolish our police or our great Second Amendment, which gives us the right to keep and bear arms. (Applause.)

We believe that our children should be taught to love their country, honor our history, and respect our great American flag. (Applause.)

We stand tall, we stand proud, and we only kneel to Almighty God. (Applause.)

This is who we are. This is what we believe. And these are the values that will guide us as we strive to build an even better and greater future.

Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity, so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny. In toppling the heroes of 1776, they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country, and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not a better America, their goal is the end of America.


THE PRESIDENT: In its place, they want power for themselves. But just as patriots did in centuries past, the American people will stand in their way — and we will win, and win quickly and with great dignity. (Applause.)

We will never let them rip America’s heroes from our monuments, or from our hearts. By tearing down Washington and Jefferson, these radicals would tear down the very heritage for which men gave their lives to win the Civil War; they would erase the memory that inspired those soldiers to go to their deaths, singing these words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic: “As He died to make men Holy, let us die to make men free, while God is marching on.” (Applause.)

They would tear down the principles that propelled the abolition of slavery in America and, ultimately, around the world, ending an evil institution that had plagued humanity for thousands and thousands of years. Our opponents would tear apart the very documents that Martin Luther King used to express his dream, and the ideas that were the foundation of the righteous movement for Civil Rights. They would tear down the beliefs, culture, and identity that have made America the most vibrant and tolerant society in the history of the Earth.

My fellow Americans, it is time to speak up loudly and strongly and powerfully and defend the integrity of our country. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: It is time for our politicians to summon the bravery and determination of our American ancestors. It is time. (Applause.) It is time to plant our flag and protect the greatest of this nation, for citizens of every race, in every city, and every part of this glorious land. For the sake of our honor, for the sake of our children, for the sake of our union, we must protect and preserve our history, our heritage, and our great heroes. (Applause.)

Here tonight, before the eyes of our forefathers, Americans declare again, as we did 244 years ago: that we will not be tyrannized, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people. It will not happen. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: We will proclaim the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, and we will never surrender the spirit and the courage and the cause of July 4th, 1776.

Upon this ground, we will stand firm and unwavering. In the face of lies meant to divide us, demoralize us, and diminish us, we will show that the story of America unites us, inspires us, includes us all, and makes everyone free.

We must demand that our children are taught once again to see America as did Reverend Martin Luther King, when he said that the Founders had signed “a promissory note” to every future generation. Dr. King saw that the mission of justice required us to fully embrace our founding ideals. Those ideals are so important to us — the founding ideals. He called on his fellow citizens not to rip down their heritage, but to live up to their heritage. (Applause.)

Above all, our children, from every community, must be taught that to be American is to inherit the spirit of the most adventurous and confident people ever to walk the face of the Earth.

Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies and even into the stars.

We are the country of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Frederick Douglass. We are the land of Wild Bill Hickock and Buffalo Bill Cody. (Applause.) We are the nation that gave rise to the Wright Brothers, the Tuskegee Airmen — (applause) — Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Jesse Owens, George Patton — General George Patton — the great Louie Armstrong, Alan Shepard, Elvis Presley, and Mohammad Ali. (Applause.) And only America could have produced them all. (Applause.) No other place.

We are the culture that put up the Hoover Dam, laid down the highways, and sculpted the skyline of Manhattan. We are the people who dreamed a spectacular dream — it was called: Las Vegas, in the Nevada desert; who built up Miami from the Florida marsh; and who carved our heroes into the face of Mount Rushmore. (Applause.)

Americans harnessed electricity, split the atom, and gave the world the telephone and the Internet. We settled the Wild West, won two World Wars, landed American astronauts on the Moon — and one day very soon, we will plant our flag on Mars.

We gave the world the poetry of Walt Whitman, the stories of Mark Twain, the songs of Irving Berlin, the voice of Ella Fitzgerald, the style of Frank Sinatra — (applause) — the comedy of Bob Hope, the power of the Saturn V rocket, the toughness of the Ford F-150 — (applause) — and the awesome might of the American aircraft carriers.

Americans must never lose sight of this miraculous story. You should never lose sight of it, because nobody has ever done it like we have done it. So today, under the authority vested in me as President of the United States — (applause) — 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. (Applause.)

From this night and from this magnificent place, let us go forward united in our purpose and re-dedicated in our resolve. We will raise the next generation of American patriots. We will write the next thrilling chapter of the American adventure. And we will teach our children to know that they live in a land of legends, that nothing can stop them, and that no one can hold them down. (Applause.) They will know that in America, you can do anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything. (Applause.)

Uplifted by the titans of Mount Rushmore, we will find unity that no one expected; we will make strides that no one thought possible. This country will be everything that our citizens have hoped for, for so many years, and that our enemies fear — because we will never forget that American freedom exists for American greatness. And that’s what we have: American greatness. (Applause.)

Centuries from now, our legacy will be the cities we built, the champions we forged, the good we did, and the monuments we created to inspire us all.

My fellow citizens: America’s destiny is in our sights. America’s heroes are embedded in our hearts. America’s future is in our hands. And ladies and gentlemen: the best is yet to come. (Applause.)


THE PRESIDENT: This has been a great honor for the First Lady and myself to be with you. I love your state. I love this country. I’d like to wish everybody a very happy Fourth of July. To all, God bless you, God bless your families, God bless our great military, and God bless America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 9:32 P.M. MDT

No comments: