Posted: Saturday, July 4, 2020. 5:03 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The United States of America is observing its 244th anniversary of independence from Great Britain in molten times.
While the Continental Congress of 1776 voted for independence on July 2, the Fourth is the date on which the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted.
Appearing at the Mount Rushmore National Monument in South Dakota, under the faces of four of the nation’s greatest presidents, current office-holder Donald Trump has vowed that America “will not be silenced” by “angry mobs” and “cancel culture” of protestors who toppled monuments during recent anti-racism protests.
He accuses them of “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children”, according to the BBC.
There was little reference to COVID-19, which has claimed nearly 130 thousand American lives, as Friday saw yet another daily record for infections, lifting the total to 2.5 million, most of any country. Masks and social distancing were not mandatory at the Mount Rushmore event, despite warnings by health officials.
Of the four U.S. presidents carved on the face of Mount Rushmore, two – George Washington and Thomas Jefferson – owned slaves; they share the space with Abraham Lincoln, whose decision to overturn slavery in Confederate states in 1863 hastened the end of the American Civil War. The monument also stands on land that was taken from the indigenous Lakota Sioux by the US government in the 1800s.
But Trump insisted the landmark would stand in tribute to America’s forefathers and freedom, and that it will not be desecrated and defaced.
And for those who would try, expect up to ten years in prison under a recent executive order he signed to protect such monuments.
A fireworks display set to music was then held at the pre-Independence Day event, watched by about 7,500 ticket-holders.
But so-called Native American groups did not let up with their criticism for the health risk and insult of marking Independence Day on land they consider sacred to them.
The BBC says many Native Americans do not celebrate Independence Day because they associate it with the colonization of their tribal homelands and the loss of their cultural freedoms.
An attempt to block the main road to the site by protestors was cleared by police officers and National Guard soldiers, who used smoke bombs and pepper spray, local reports say.
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