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Trump requests tanks to roll down DC streets for July 4th parade with Blue Angels flyover, more

M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank and M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle out for inspection by Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, April 22, at JMTC’s Grafenwoehr Training Area. (7th Army Training Command/Released)
July 02, 2019

President Trump has requested that M1 Abrams tanks to be a part of the upcoming Independence Day parade in Washington D.C. this week.

The tanks are the latest detail to emerge about the parade, which includes a display of other military vehicles and assets, a U.S. Navy Blue Angels and Air Force One flyover, nearly $1 million worth of fireworks and more, Fox News reported Monday.

An annual Independence Day celebration is typically held in D.C., but this year, Trump is getting involved and reintroducing the event as “A Salute to America” to include military assets and a live speech on the Lincoln Memorial, among other changes.

At least 300 service members are expected to participate in the parade, but that figure could increase as additional military assets are added to the lineup. Most of the 300 are from military bands and drill teams, the Washington Post reported.

Trump has also considered including flyovers by F-35 units and Marine Helicopter Squadron One, two administration officials told the Washington Post.

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A brief overview of the events was confirmed by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

“This is going to be a fantastic Fourth of July with increased access across the National Mall for the public to enjoy music, flyovers, a spectacular fireworks display and an address by our Commander-in-Chief,” Bernhardt said in a statement.

“We received an extraordinary donation for a phenomenal fireworks display, and our colleagues from the Department of Defense will be providing a one-of-a-kind music and air power experience including a flight demonstration from the Blue Angels,” he added.

Trump developed the idea to display military assets during the parade after attending a July 2017 parade in France commemorating Bastille Day. The parade showed off France’s military might, including tanks and fighter jets. President Trump was said to have watched the parade with great enthusiasm, and later said: “We’re going to have to try and top it.”

He had originally planned a military display during a Veterans Day parade in November 2018, but that parade was canceled due to cost reasons.

The parade is expected to take place at 11:45 a.m. local time and conclude at 2:00 p.m. Additional events at the Lincoln Memorial and the West Lawn will begin at 3:00 p.m. Trump’s live televised speech on the Lincoln Memorial will begin at 6:30 p.m. and last one hour. Finally, the fireworks display will begin at 9:07 p.m. and last for 35 minutes.