'Celebrate America' ceremony at Mount Rushmore a huge success
An enthusiastic and appreciative audience gathered in the early morning of July 4 at the historic Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota for the inaugural “Celebrate America” ceremony.
Making the ceremony extra special was the presence of everyday American heroes – a veteran, police officer, firefighter, first responders, doctor, nurse, truck driver and teacher – who read the Declaration of Independence. The rare stone edition of the Declaration of Independence served as the centerpiece of the ceremony. For the first time, the Declaration of Independence was referred to as the birth certificate of America.
“This event was probably the most powerful, relevant and important ceremony marking our nation’s birthday,” said Richard Rovsek, chairman, Spirit of Liberty Foundation based in Rancho Santa Fe. “It captured in both words and spirit what the day should represent and touched the hearts of all those who attended. An event of this nature serves to bring our country together.”
The “Celebrate America” ceremony included the dramatic participation of leading Presidential re-enactors – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt (the four presidential giants sculpted on Mount Rushmore). The re-enactors signed their names on a large replica copy of the Declaration of Independence, a symbolic salute to the country’s democratic traditions.
An avid student of American history, Rovsek is initiating a tradition of celebrating America’s birthday at historic sites throughout the country, leading up to the nation’s 250th anniversary celebration in 2026. He worked with the National Parks Service to obtain a permit for the event at Mount Rushmore. In addition, America’s future (children from six to 16 years old) read the names of each of the 56 signers of the Declaration and the states they represented. There were also impactful 4th of July statements by senior leadership from all branches of the U.S. military.
The Spirit of Liberty Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. It was originally formed to raise funds and assist in the restoration and maintenance of the Statue of Liberty as well as Ellis Island. After the restoration was completed, and as a result of 9/11, the Foundation’s mission was changed to enhance the meaning and importance of liberty. — Spirit of Liberty Foundation news release.
This story originally appeared in Rancho Santa Fe Review .