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Independence Day at Rushmore kicks off Wednesday

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life Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL (AP) -- Presidential re-enactors will kick-off a two-day Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore National Memorial on Wednesday with an in-character news conference in the Carvers Cafe.

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The re-enactors also will give presentations, sign autographs and mingle with visitors throughout Wednesday and Thursday.

Visitors will be able to send a message to deployed troops through Operation Gratitude, a non-profit, volunteer-based group dedicated to lifting the morale of deployed service members and wounded warriors by sending letters and care packages to the troops. The park will provide postcards for visitors to mail messages from the memorial.

Wednesday's scheduled entertainment includes hoop dancer Jasmine Pickner-Bell, children's performer Phil Baker and the Rapid City Municipal Band. Junior Ranger CD composer Jeff Wolin and Native American flutist Sequoia Crosswhite will perform on Wednesday and Thursday.

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