In order to satisfy President Donald Trump‘s appetite for spectacle, the Washington, D.C. Fourth of July festivities will feature a display of military tanks as well as a flyover by Navy fighter planes.

The president himself will speak at the event. delivering an address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Beside him will be the heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines as aircraft from each of their divisions fly overhead. The tanks, Abrams and Sherman vehicles used in the Gulf War and WWII respectively, will be located somewhere in the Mall, although it is unclear where. The positioning of the tanks is a delicate matter, quite literally, as there is a real risk of the war machines crushing Washington’s roads beneath their treads.

The Washington D.C. City Council is not in favor of the military presence during the festivities, citing infrastructure damage and a general lack of support for the plan. Their Fourth of July celebration has historically been a nonpartisan event, with no prior president involving himself in the festivities.

Trump has turned that precedent on its head in his desire to transform the Fourth of July celebration into a display of America’s military and an opportunity to boost his own ego. He first announced the changes to the Independence Day event in a February tweet which read, “We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4. It will be called ‘A Salute To America’ and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!” The inclusion of military vehicles was revealed earlier this year.


The president has long desired to host a military parade in the United States, first during his inauguration, then during Veteran’s day, then during the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of WWI. His plans have been repeatedly foiled by the exorbitant cost of such a display and by the resistance from much of his government. The heads of the various military divisions were all reluctant about using their forces in such a frivolous manner, believing that the United States had no need to broadcast its military power in a manner akin to North Korea’s military marches.

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