(Keystone, SD) – Before the first visitor arrived to Mount Rushmore National Memorial for the 2009 Independence Day celebration, hundreds of park partners and volunteers were working hard to prepare the memorial for one of the largest celebrations in the nation. Partnerships were key to the success of the Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore on July 3 and 4. Behind the scenes of the event, months of planning and contributions from several federal and state agencies, local organizations and individuals led to a successful event that included cultural and musical entertainment, military flyovers, and a tribute to three celebrated World War II veterans.
"This event is not possible without the support and effort of many federal agencies and park partners working together. It takes hundreds of individuals, mostly working behind the scenes, to plan and carryout an event of this magnitude," said memorial Superintendent Gerard Baker. "We thank each and every person who helped us with this year’s event."
Groups who contributed to the success of this all day event included the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Society, the Black Hills National Forest Youth Conservation Corps, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the American Red Cross, Ellsworth Air Force Base, and many other agencies, organizations and civilian volunteers. Over fifteen different local, state and federal agencies as well as various local organizations offered their services to help with the celebration.
Superintendent Baker continued, "On the day of the event, we depend on many volunteers from the surrounding area to help staff key posts during the celebration. Our volunteers did everything from providing fire protection to installing snow fencing before the event to protect park resources."
Clean-up began almost immediately following the conclusion of the fireworks display on Friday evening. The rope highline system used to haul the fireworks to the top of the sculpture will be set up on July 5 so the remaining supplies and equipment can be removed from the mountain. This operation is expected to take less than three days.
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