During a Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday, July 3, President Donald Trump announced that he is creating a new monument honoring “the greatest Americans.”

“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,” he said.

The White House revealed the executive order on Friday night as many monuments have been vandalized or destroyed during protests across the country following the death of George Floyd. 

Our American story

“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 works of art call forth gratitude for the accomplishments and sacrifices of our exceptional fellow citizens who, despite their flaws, placed their virtues, their talents, and their lives in the service of our Nation,” reads the executive order.

The executive order also addressed current calls to tear down Confederate statues, stating, “These statues are not ours alone, to be discarded at the whim of those inflamed by fashionable political passions; they belong to generations that have come before us and to generations yet unborn.”

The executive order contained the creation of a task force “for Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes,” which will have 60 days to submit a report to the president detailing options for the creation of the garden, including a list of potential locations. The order declared that the park will be open for public access prior to July 4, 2026, the 250th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence.

Americans honored in the garden

A preliminary list of prominent Americans to be honored in the garden includes 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, among others.

During his speech, President Trump criticized protesters who have pulled down statues and monuments to historical figures, calling it a “merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.” 

“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,” the president said.