At least two Army tanks have arrived in Washington ahead of a Fourth of July celebration that President Donald Trump says will include military hardware.
An Associated Press photographer says the two M1A1 Abrams tanks are with four other military vehicles on a freight train in a railyard at the southeastern edge of Washington.
The vehicles are being guarded by military police but are visible to passersby on nearby paths. A military official earlier told the AP that the tanks were transported north from Fort Stewart in Georgia.
Trump told reporters Monday that the tanks will be stationed outside the Fourth of July celebration but has not given details on how they will be used.
Sherman tanks were the tank most widely used by the U.S. during World War II, but they have been out of service for decades. The M1A1 Abrams tank is currently the main U.S. battle tank.
Two M1A1 Abrams tanks and two Bradley Fighting Vehicles will be on display as part of Trump’s “Salute to America” event, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the exhibits have not been made public.
Trump recalled his visit earlier this year to a plant in Lima, Ohio, where M1A1 Abrams tanks are refurbished. The plant had been at risk for closure 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.”
Thursday’s events are also expected to include a military demonstration by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and other aircraft.
“We’re going to have a great Fourth of July in Washington, D.C. It’ll be like no other,” Trump said. “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.”
“I’m going to say a few words and we’re going to have planes going overhead, the best fighter jets in the world and other planes, too,” he said.
Trump plans to deliver a speech at the Lincoln Memorial during his “Salute to America,” which has been added to the regular schedule of Independence Day events in the nation’s capital. The annual fireworks display will go off closer to the Lincoln Memorial instead of the Washington Monument, as has been the long-standing tradition.
The event is open to the public and free of charge, but a ticket-only area in front of the memorial is being set aside for VIPs, including members of Trump’s family, friends and members of the military, the White House said.