WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday signed an executive order creating a garden honoring a long and diverse list of deceased American legends including Kobe Bryant, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alex Trebek and Frederick Douglass.
“The National Garden will be built to reflect the awesome splendor of our country’s timeless exceptionalism,” said the order, signed in one of his last two full days as president.
“It will be a place where citizens, young and old, can renew their vision of greatness and take up the challenge that I gave every American in my first address to Congress, to ‘[b]elieve in yourselves, believe in your future, and believe, once more, in America.’”
The garden will feature “a roll call of heroes who deserve honor” and includes towering political figures, entertainers and accomplished athletes.
Some figures on the list include boxer Muhammad Ali, first man on the moon Neil Armstrong, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, singer Johnny Cash, Albert Einstein, Apple founder Steve Jobs, Frank Sinatra, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.
The order said that each individual had been chosen “for embodying the American spirit of daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love.”
Trump said the garden would promote the nation’s achievements at a time of “dangerous anti-American extremism” and referenced the destruction and desecration of monuments to figures like George Washington during protests over the summer.
“The National Garden is 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. When the forces of anti-Americanism have sought to burn, tear down, and destroy, patriots have built, rebuilt, and lifted up. That is our history.”
A task force created to oversee construction of the garden is in the process of finding a suitable site.