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Contact: Ace Crawford, 605-574-3185
KEYSTONE, SD – Visitors to Mount Rushmore National Memorial on July 3, 2011 will have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of educational programs, patriotic tributes, and musical entertainment in celebration of Independence Day. A full schedule of events has been planned for visitors to enjoy throughout the day. The festivities, including music and entertainment, will begin at 9:00 am on Sunday, July 3, culminating with the special evening program, B-1 flyover, and sculpture lighting ceremony.
Highlights of the celebration will include Presidential re-enactors representing the four Presidents, Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Roosevelt. The re-enactors will be at Mount Rushmore on both July 3 and 4. At scheduled times both days, each re-enactor will give presentations in the Visitor Center theater, sign autographs, and mingle around the Memorial grounds, interacting with visitors. The popular Lakota hoop dancer, Jasmine Pickner, and Sequoia Crosswhite, a Native Flutist, will also be performing on both July 3 and 4. A new addition to the July 3 line-up is Lou Del Bianco. Del Bianco showcases a first person interpretive program, where he plays his grandfather Luigi Del Bianco, who worked on Mount Rushmore. On July 4, Raymond Brown will perform at the Memorial. Brown is a retired history teacher who recites the Declaration of Independence from memory, while dressed in period clothing.
The July 3 celebration will also feature an Operation Gratitude tent. Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based corporation, which seeks to lift the morale of deployed service members and wounded warriors by sending letters and care packages to the troops. Visitors to Mount Rushmore on July 3 will have 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.
The evening ceremony will begin at 5:30 pm with greetings by Mount Rushmore Superintendent Cheryl Schreier. The program will feature the Veteran’s Recognition event honoring First Lieutenant Michael F. Roselles, military swearing-in ceremony conducted by the Ellsworth AFB Commander, POW-MIA honoring ceremony, B-1 flyover, the National Anthem sung by Wanda Goodman with the South Dakota Department of Tourism, and the sculpture lighting ceremony. The evening program will also showcase the music of the popular military band
Night Wing, the country/rock group of the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band. Night Wing has entertained troops around the world, with a variety of music ranging from Top 40 pop & country hits to popular rock-n-roll classics.
"We are excited about the patriotic celebration scheduled at Mount Rushmore for the Independence Day celebration," said Superintendent Schreier. "Visitors to the Shrine of Democracy on July 3 will have an opportunity to express their patriotism through a variety of activities, with the Memorial serving as their inspirational backdrop," added Schreier.
On Saturday, July 2, to start-off the weekend celebration, the United States Air Force Band band Tops in Blue will perform in the Memorial amphitheater from 5-7 pm.
For a complete listing of the 2011 Independence Day schedule of events, visit the park web site at: www.nps.gov/moru.