WATCH LIVE: Washington D.C.’s 4th of July Celebration (11:45 AM EST) and President Trump’s “Salute to America” (6:30 PM EST)

Fireworks illuminate the National Mall in celebration of Independence Day 2018 in Washington. (Credit: Washington Post photo by Calla Kessler)
Fireworks illuminate the National Mall in celebration of Independence Day 2018 in Washington. (Credit: Washington Post photo by Calla Kessler)

Washington D.C.’s Fourth of July Celebration Schedule (all times EDT)

National Independence Day Parade – along Constitution Avenue
11:45 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The parade will include marching bands, floats and military units.

Trump’s ‘Salute to America’ – Lincoln Memorial
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
The ‘Salute to America’ event will include President Donald Trump’s speech plus military demonstrations and a flyover.

A Capitol Fourth Concert – West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol
8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Host John Stamos is joined by renowned performers including Carole King, Vanessa Williams and Colbie Caillat, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra. The Sesame Street muppets are expected to make a special appearance. The event, including the fireworks display, will be broadcast live on PBS.

Fireworks display
9:07 p.m. – 9:42 p.m.
The fireworks display, which will be launched behind the Lincoln Memorial, is scheduled to be 35 minutes, twice as long as previous years.

President Donald Trump will preside over a patriotic event with military flair — branded the “Salute to America” — for the Fourth of July. But some have raised concern about the cost for taxpayers, as well as that the event could politicize a nonpartisan day meant to be about American unity.

The event will center on an evening address by Trump, who has said that the celebration is meant to pay homage to the U.S. military, the “most advanced military anywhere in the world,” he tweeted. The Associated Press reported that administration officials have stressed that the speech would focus on “how wonderful this country is.”

Trump has expressed a desire for a military parade in Washington since 2017, when he witnessed a Bastille Day display in France at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron. A military parade that had been scheduled for November 2018, and with a reported cost of $90 million, was canceled. Instead the president joined other world leaders in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I in Europe.

While the exact cost of the parade is still not clear, a few things are known: There will be a flyover of Washington by Air Force One and a performance by the Navy Blue Angels. And taxpayers will foot some of the bill. The “Salute” also comes amid growing frustration by local D.C. government, which is still owed more than $7 million for Trump’s 2016 inauguration costs.

The president on Monday said that there will be “brand new Sherman tanks… [and] the brand new Abrams tanks,” stationed somewhere in D.C. The M1 Abrams tank was used in the Gulf War, while the M4 Sherman tank was used during WWII.

The president noted that “you’ve got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks,” and therefore, he suggested, “we have to put them in certain areas.” The D.C. city council cited a 2018 Department of Defense memorandum that was created for the president’s initial parade, which explicitly outlined “no tanks,” out of consideration to “minimize damage to local infrastructure.” However, it seems that tanks have already arrived in Washington, and the logistics for the parade are underway.

SOURCE: Yasmeen Alamiri, Gretchen Frazee