With just days left in his term, President Donald Trump signed a bold executive order this week.
His action calls for the next phase in the development and construction of the National Garden of American Heroes, a national monument honoring citizens who have demonstrated the nation’s exceptionalism.
George Washington to Mark Twain
According to the Washington Examiner, Trump’s latest order reveals an initial list of names set to be memorialized in the expansive garden.
Political figures from the nation’s founding, including George Washington and John Adams, are on the list alongside sports and music stars from the more recent past, including Muhammad Ali, Kobe Bryant, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.
Writers, political and otherwise, are also named in the order, including Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, and William F. Buckley.
The lengthy list includes exceptional Americans from all walks of life, and Trump’s order states that “each individual has been chosen for embodying the American spirit of daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love.”
Each individual chosen for the park will be memorialized with a statue in his or her likeness.
“Astounding the world by the sheer power of their example, each one of them has contributed indispensably to American’s noble history, the best chapters of which are still to come,” the order added.
The action was first announced during the summer of 2020, around the same time as widespread protests, which the president’s order described as an “attack” on “our country’s history, institutions, and very identity.”
Trump described the honorees on his list as representative of: “The dead who gave their lives to end slavery and save the Union during the Civil War have been dishonored, with monuments to Abraham Lincoln, Hans Christian Heg, and the courageous 54th Regiment left damaged and disfigured. The brave warriors who saved freedom from Nazi fascism have been disgraced with a memorial to World War II veterans defaced with the hammer and sickle of Soviet communism.”
As Trump argued, “the National Garden is America’s answer to this reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values, and entire way of life.”
Despite the inclusion of 244 names in his expansive order, NPR noted that the project has received no congressional funding and the impending end of his term in the White House renders the garden unlikely to be constructed — at least not in the near future.