Preparations have been underway for weeks for Thursday’s “Salute to America,” the annual July 4 celebration in Washington, D.C.
President Trump has sought to make this year’s celebration much larger than in years past. The public celebration will take place on the National Mall throughout the day and into the evening. It will include a parade, live musical performances, military demonstrations, and an evening fireworks display.
U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt painted a picture of the event last month, as preparations were getting underway. “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,” Bernhardt said.
“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.”
This week, some Democrats began to express concerns that the president may use the holiday event as a platform to further his bid for reelection in 2020. They are bracing for Trump to make critical remarks towards toward Congressional Democrats, as he did in his recent political rally in Orlando, Florida.
On Tuesday, however, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley tried to assure reporters that this will not be the case, saying, “The president is not going to get political. He’s going to celebrate the greatest country, the greatest idea in the history of the world, and that is the United States of America.”
The parade, which takes place from 11:45 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. EDT, will include marching bands, fife and drum corps, military groups, floats, giant balloons, equestrian teams, and other performers—a traditional July 4th parade.
From 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. EDT, President Trump will give his “Salute to America,” addressing the crowd from in front of the Lincoln Memorial. In his remarks, Trump is expected to pay tribute to the different branches of the U.S. military. Military performing groups will share live music and give military demonstrations. Gates open at 3:30 p.m.
From 8:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. EDT the National Park Service and the National Symphony Orchestra will sponsor an outdoor concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, featuring a variety of American music. Gates open at 3:00 p.m.
Fireworks over the National Mall, from behind the Lincoln Memorial, will begin shortly after 9:00 p.m. EDT and will be visible from surrounding areas.