On Friday, thousands of attendees waited hours for a glimpse at the sitting president of the United States and the return of fireworks at Mount Rushmore.
The event was billed as a celebration and is one of the largest gatherings of Americans since the coronavirus pandemic reached the country.
Fireworks explode over Mount Rushmore and attendees sit in awe, capturing video of the spectacle as patriotic music blares from an immaculate stage at the base of the national monument.
The Independence Day celebration brought plenty of energy to President Trump, who spoke to a crowd of mostly supporters.
The national debate on statue removal loomed over the event.
Governor Kristi Noem laments a call to remove the faces from Mount Rushmore. She calls it an organized campaign by the left.
“We can speak, write, worship, defend, even protest as we see fit because of these men and they’re ideals,” Noem says. “To attempt to cancel the founding generation is an attempt to cancel our own freedoms.”
President Donald Trump shared that sentiment in his over 40 minute speech. He calls protestors removing statutes "far-left fascists” who demand allegiance.
“If you do not speak its language, perform it’s rituals, recite it’s mantra’s and follow it’s commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted and punished. It’s not going to happen to us.”
Tribal leaders have called for the removal of the faces from the mountain Lakota’s say is sacred.
Down in Keystone, 15 protesters were arrested following a demonstration that shutdown the only road leading to the monument. Traffic was rerouted to the western entrance.
Shortly after the fireworks display, a rainstorm reached the memorial.