Independence Day Celebrations at Mount Rushmore

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Date: June 25, 2012
Contact: Maureen McGee-Ballinger, 605-574-3115

KEYSTONE, SD: Visitors to Mount Rushmore National Memorial on July 3rd and 4th will have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of educational programs, patriotic tributes, and musical entertainment in celebration of Independence Day with a focus on active duty military and veterans. A full schedule of events has been planned for visitors to enjoy. The festivities will begin at 9:00 AM on Tuesday culminating with the special evening program and sculpture lighting ceremony.
Highlights of the celebration will include Presidential re-enactors representing the four Presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. On July 3 at 9:00 AM all four Presidential re-enactors will gather at the Carvers Café for an in-character press conference. Visitors are welcome to email questions for the press conference in advance to e-mail us or bring their questions to the event.  At scheduled times on both July 3 and 4, each re-enactor will give presentations in the Visitor Center theater, sign autographs, and mingle around the Memorial grounds. Internationally renowned hoop dancer, Kevin Locke, and the Germans from Russia folk dance group will provide performances on July 3. Sequoia Crosswhite, a Native Flutist will perform on both July 3 and 4.
July 3 visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on demonstration of 3D photogrammetric documentation. Visitors who bring their digital camera, their curiosity and their questions can learn about 3D photography. The CyArk Digital Preservation Station will provide a short video presentation and basic hands-on experience in 3D photography.

The July 3 evening ceremony will begin in the amphitheater at 6:00 PM with greetings by Mount Rushmore Superintendent Cheryl Schreier. Beginning with a Junior Ranger swearing-in ceremony, the program will feature, A Tradition of Service, Veteran’s Recognition event honoring a family with the tradition of military service, military swearing-in ceremony conducted by the Ellsworth Air Force Base Commander Colonel Mark E. Weatherington, POW-MIA honoring ceremony, and the sculpture lighting ceremony. The evening program will highlight the music of the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band the Brass in Blue, a symphonic brass ensemble composed of ten brass players, a percussionist and a vocalist. The Brass in Blue will provide a variety of patriotic music, jazz and orchestral arrangements during the program and will perform the national anthem during the evening lighting ceremony. 
Featured areas on July 3 and 4 will include Operation Gratitude, U.S. Military passes, Operation Black Hills Cabin, and Junior Rangers. Operation Gratitude is a non-profit, volunteer-based group, which seeks to lift the morale of deployed service members and wounded warriors by sending letters and care packages to the troops. Custer VFW Post 3442 will be staffing the Operation Gratitude area providing visitors to Mount Rushmore with an opportunity to write a postcard to a deployed service member or wounded warrior to express their respect and appreciation to our U.S. Military. The postcard and stamp will be provided, and can be mailed directly from Mount Rushmore.
Active duty U.S. military personnel or their dependents, with proper military identification, can register for the free new Annual US Military pass. The pass provides free entrance for one year at any National Park Service site charging entrance fees.  While Mount Rushmore National Memorial does not have an entrance fee, it is making the passes available at the Information Center.   
On the Avenue of Flags, information will be available on Operation Black Hills Cabin a non-profit organization providing a place of recreation and reconnection for qualifying military families.

Young visitors will have an opportunity to become Junior Rangers. They can pick up a Junior Ranger booklet, complete the activities and submit their work to earn a Junior Ranger badge. Junior Rangers attending the evening ceremony will have the opportunity to take part in a group Junior Ranger pledge led by the Superintendent Cheryl Schreier.
For a complete listing of the 2012 Independence Day schedule of events, visit the park web site at


Last updated: May 25, 2017

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Mailing Address:

13000 Highway 244
Building 31, Suite 1

Keystone, SD 57751


(605) 574-2523
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