I am a firm believer that our upbringing makes us who we are. I often talk about how I grew up on our family farm with my parents giving me impossible things to do. By challenging me with seemingly unachievable tasks, my mom and dad taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to.
What I didn’t know as a kid was that my parents were instilling in me a traditional American work ethic. They were giving me the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality. Now, I’ve strived to teach my kids and my grandkids the same thing. This is the kind of work ethic that we will all need to ensure the preservation of this great American experiment in self-government and democracy.
In 1912, President Teddy Roosevelt said, “This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in.” If we are to have any hope of giving the next generation a great country, we need to remember the things that have made us great today and protect those opportunities for everyone, including future generations.
When we celebrate America, we are celebrating the Freedoms that so many have fought to protect over the last 247 years. I can think of no better symbol of America than Mount Rushmore. That’s why I am continuing to fight to bring Independence Day fireworks back to our national monument. The Biden administration has consistently denied us the ability to properly commemorate the birth of our nation, but we’re not giving up. My Department of Tourism and I have officially submitted our application for a special works permit for the 2024 Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration!
We are also preparing for future celebrations of Freedom. America’s 250th birthday is less than three years away. I have created the America 250th South Dakota Commission to prepare for this momentous occasion. This event deserves a year-long celebration of our history, our people, and our Freedom. I am looking forward to throwing the biggest birthday party South Dakota has ever seen.
But it will be more than just a party. The celebrations that we are preparing for will show our children what is truly means to be an American – and that lesson won’t end there. We are emphasizing our nation’s true and honest history at both the K-12 level and at the Board of Regents level. We should teach our kids how lucky they are to live in the United States of America. By raising a generation of patriots, we will ensure that this great nation will live on to see many more Independence Day celebrations.
The Fourth of July may have already passed this year, but we celebrate America all year long. We are a state of Freedom-loving folks, and I am confident that we will raise many more generations of proud Americans right here in the heartland.
In South Dakota, America gets a year-round celebration.