MOUNT RUSHMORE, S.D. (KELO) — We’re just one week away from President Donald Trump’s visit to Mount Rushmore, where he’s scheduled to attend a Fourth of July fireworks show.
Nearly 30 years ago, to the day, another U.S. president was at Mount Rushmore for an event that didn’t just celebrate Independence Day, but also a milestone anniversary for the Shrine of Democracy. President George H.W. Bush’s Mount Rushmore visit helped shape the future of the memorial for years to come.
It wasn’t fireworks, but a South Dakota air guard flyover that caught everyone’s attention high above Mount Rushmore on July 3rd, 1991. The crowd of about 3,000 cheered as the mountain carvings emerged from underneath the cover of a giant U.S. flag in celebration of the memorial’s 50th anniversary.
“God bless America, land that I love.”
The guest of honor was President George H.W. Bush, who was the event’s keynote speaker.
“Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt all surmounted old barriers and opened up new frontiers, they broadened our nation and they strengthened it’s foundations,” Bush said in 1991.
The event also brought out celebrities, including legendary actor Jimmy Stewart who paid tribute to Abraham Lincoln.
“Through our darkest days, he trusted that We The People, would find the way,” Stewart said in 1991.
The ceremony officially kicked off a campaign to raise millions of dollars in donations to pay for improvements to the park, as well as for granite facelifts to the presidents who have aged well in the 29 years since that historic event.
The 50th anniversary celebration was also a dedication ceremony because Mount Rushmore had never held an official dedication since construction ended in 1941.
President George W. Bush would follow in his father’s footsteps with his own visit to Mount Rushmore in the summer of 2002.