Trump Administration Releases Long-Awaited Details on ‘Salute to America’ July 4 Celebration in Washington, DC
"On July 4th, in Washington, D.C., come on down, we're going to have a big day," President Trump said
The Trump administration has released long-awaited details on "Salute to America," months after promising an expanded celebration in Washington, D.C., featuring the president himself.
President Donald Trump will host an hour-long event at the Lincoln Memorial, but many of D.C.'s longstanding Independence Day traditions are set to remain the same.
In past years, presidents have often bowed out of July Fourth festivities in the nation's capital, but it appears Trump plans to take center stage at one new event.
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"Salute to America," which Trump will lead in honoring the U.S. military, is scheduled 6:30-7:30 p.m. on July 4, according to a release from the Department of the Interior. There will be music, military demonstrations and flyovers, organizers say.
“There is no more appropriate place to celebrate the anniversary of American independence than among the Nation’s monuments on the National Mall and the memorials to the service men and women who have defended the United States for the past 243 years,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
Keeping with tradition are the National Independence Day Parade, A Capitol Fourth concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol building and a fireworks display. These events remain largely unchanged from years past.
The Independence Day celebrations start 11:45 a.m. with the parade. Bands, military units, fife and drum corps and more groups will march down the familiar parade route on Constitution Avenue between 7th-17th Streets NW.
The event featuring Trump, "Salute to America," opens its gates at 3:30 p.m. It's unclear what kind of security will be present.
"A Capitol Fourth Concert" is set to begin at 8 p.m. with "an all-star salute of the best in American entertainment." John Stamos is set to host performances by Carole King, Sesame Street, Lindsey Stirling and Vanessa Williams.
A fireworks display is set to cap things off around sunset. Organizers promise a great view from much of D.C. and Northern Virginia.
Trump first announced this patriotic bash in February, after facing foiled plans for a military parade in the vein of France's Bastille Day celebrations.
He again invited the public to Washington for "something big" as he rallied for his reelection bid in Orlando on Tuesday.
"We're going to have hundreds of thousands of people, we're going to celebrate America," he said. "On July Fourth, in Washington, D.C., come on down, we're going to have a big day. Bring your flags, bring those flags. Bring those American flags," he said.
With just about two weeks until the Fourth of July, however, D.C. officials and even senators were pushing the president for more details.
On Tuesday, Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy signed onto a letter pushing the U.S. Department of the Interior to release specific information.
"We are deeply troubled that the President's involvement at the event will turn the longstanding, non-partisan celebration into a de facto campaign rally conducted at the taxpayer expense that will serve to further divide rather than unify the nation," the letter, which was posted on Sen. Udall's Twitter page, read.
The senators listed 14 questions about the basics, including the nature of the events, whether it will be ticketed, how much it would cost and who would pay.
Many of those questions were not answered Wednesday when the Department of the Interior posted the event schedule. It's still not clear how much the expanded event will cost nor where the money is coming from.
Organizers say more event details will be released in late June.
The National Park Service previously confirmed that D.C.'s fireworks would be moved away from the Lincoln Memorial to West Potomac Park. Both those areas, plus many other parts of the National Mall and Tidal Basin, have been reserved by NPS for events that day, a spokesperson confirmed.
Moving the fireworks allows some of the monuments to stay open before and during the display. In previous years, the area around the Reflecting Pool would close for about 10 days for set up and take-down.
“For the first time in many years, the World War II Memorial and areas around the Reflecting Pool will be open for the public to enjoy a stunning fireworks display and an address by our Commander-in-Chief. We are excited to open these new areas so that more visitors may experience this year’s Independence Day celebration in our nation’s capital," Sec. Bernhardt said.
Here's what we do know about A Capitol Fourth and where to see fireworks around the nation's capital for Independence Day.
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