by WorldTribune Staff, July 2, 2019
A 35-minute long fireworks display, a speech by President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial and a show of American military might will highlight the Fourth of July “Salute to America” in the nation’s capital.
“The president has promised to go all out for Independence Day this year by sending tanks down the National Mall and having Air Force One do a flyover before the fireworks begin,” The Daily Mail reported on July 2.
Trump had similar plans last year but they were reportedly partially thwarted by cost considerations. “But it appears that he did manage to deliver on the tanks” this year, the Daily Mail noted.
At least two M1 Abrams tanks and two Bradley Fighting Vehicles on flatcars guarded by military police were seen at a railyard at the southeastern edge of Washington on July 1.
The president reportedly is essentially producing the Independence Day show himself, having briefings and weighing in on all aspects — from where the fireworks should be launched to how the military will be honored.
No president has personally taken part in the Mall festivities in recent memory, typically watching the fireworks from the White House instead.
“We’re gonna have a great Fourth of July in Washington, D.C.,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on July 1. “It’ll be like no other. It’ll be special and I hope a lot of people come. And it’s going to be about this country and it’s a salute to America.”
The president added: “We’re gonna have some tanks stationed outside. You’ve got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks. So we have to put them in certain areas but we have the brand new Sherman tanks and we have the brand new Abram tanks.”
The Sherman tanks were last used in World War II and Abrams tanks are the main American battle tanks.
Trump recalled his visit earlier this year to a plant in Lima, Ohio, where M1 Abrams tanks are refurbished.
The plant had been at risk of closing down but remained online due to Trump’s investments in defense spending.
“We have some incredible equipment, military equipment on display — brand new,” Trump said. “And we’re very proud of it. You know we’re making a lot of new tanks right now. We’re building a lot of new tanks in Lima, Ohio — our great tank factory that people wanted to close down until I got elected and I stopped it from being closed down, and now it’s a very productive facility.”
Trump first got the idea for a military parade celebrating America after viewing the Bastille Day parade in France in 2017, telling reporters, “It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen.”
Two firework companies have donated the $750,000 show. The fireworks display will be twice as long as those in the past and include new elements — such as a massive American flag and USA spelled out in the sky.
The fireworks display will run from 9.07 to 9.42 p.m.