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Alex Trebek, Whitney Houston among celebs added to Trump's 'Garden of American Heroes' monument

3 months 2 days 10 hours ago Tuesday, January 19 2021 Jan 19, 2021 January 19, 2021 6:03 AM January 19, 2021 in News
Source: Variety

Days before leaving the Oval Office, President Donald Trump, on Monday (Jan. 18) issued an amended executive order directing the building of a National Garden of American Heroes, “to reflect the awesome splendor of our country’s timeless exceptionalism.”

The garden was initially proposed during the summer of 2020 as demonstrations unfolded across the country, reflecting nationwide frustration and civil unrest. 

The garden, meant to be a response to the unrest, was described by the Trump Administration as “America’s answer to this reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values and entire way of life. On its grounds, the devastation and discord of the moment will be overcome with abiding love of country and lasting patriotism. This is the American way.”

On Monday President Trump added dozens of names slated to be honored in the the planned statuary park. Walt Disney, Frank Capra, Whitney Houston, Billie Holiday, Johnny Cash and Alex Trebek are among the entertainment industry figures who have been added as proposed honorees in the National Garden of American Heroes monument project.

The location for the park has yet to be announced. 

Among the entertainment-related names making the cut are Louis Armstrong, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Irving Berlin, Humphrey Bogart, Kobe Bryant, Frank Capra, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, Woody Guthrie, Charlton Heston, Alfred Hitchcock, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley and Jimmy Stewart. The monument will honor those deemed to be “historically significant” which is defined as “an individual who made substantive contributions to America’s public life or otherwise had a substantive effect on America’s history.”

One controversial choice among entertainment names is Elia Kazan, the famed director whose legacy was clouded by his willingness to testify against his Hollywood colleagues in 1952 amid the anti-Communist witch hunt mounted in Congress by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Trump launched the National Garden initiative amid the social unrest of last summer as outrage built over police shootings of unarmed Black men. A number of statues and monuments to figures from the Confederacy and those with racist legacies were vandalized or destroyed, which led to a backlash and added to the sense of cultural polarization that has defined Trump’s time in office.

“These statues are not ours alone, to be discarded at the whim of those inflamed by fashionable political passions; they belong to generations that have come before us and to generations yet unborn,” Trump said in his July 3 executive order. “My Administration will not abide an assault on our collective national memory. In the face of such acts of destruction, it is our responsibility as Americans to stand strong against this violence, and to peacefully transmit our great national story to future generations through newly commissioned monuments to American heroes.”

The initial announcement featured a shorter list of historical figures as honorees, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton as well as Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Robinson and Amelia Earhart.

Click here to view the executive order and read the full list of honorees. 

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