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US military flyover to celebrate 4th of July will begin in Boston, saluting East Coast cities that played role in American Revolution

The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds” fly over Washington D.C., May 2, 2020. The flyover was part of America Strong; a collaborative salute from the Air Force and Navy to recognize healthcare workers, first responders, military, and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ned T. Johnston)

A military flyover, part of the 2020 Salute to America event celebrating the Fourth of July, is slated to begin in Boston and continue along the East Coast, passing over cities that played a role in the American Revolution.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will host the Salute to America on the South Lawn of the White House and Ellipse on Saturday, according to the Department of Defense. The event includes music, military demonstrations and flyovers, and will end with a fireworks display over the National Mall.

Flyovers will include the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and cities that played a role in the American Revolution, according to a statement from the Department of Defense.

“The highlight of this year’s celebration will be our salute to the Great Cities of the American Revolution,” the statement said. “The flyovers will begin in Boston and proceed to New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore. From there they will join other Department of Defense and heritage aircraft in the Salute to America over our nation’s capital.”

The exact time of the flyovers has not yet been determined, according to the statement.

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The department said the flyovers are a sunk cost and allow the department to “demonstrate the capabilities and professionalism of the United States Armed Forces.” About 1,700 service members will support the celebrations, the statement said.

Boston’s Fourth of July celebration, like other parades, events and festivities across the country, has been canceled because of the coronavirus.

The United States Government Accountability Office in a report released this month indicated that the estimated costs for Fourth of July Events on the National Mall for 2016, 2017 and 2018 ranged from $6 million to $7 million annually. Those costs included contract costs with private entities tasked with producing and executing the concert and fireworks, as well as costs for overtime and holiday pay for federal employees working at the events.

Last year, the events cost more than $13 million. The Government Accountability Office attributed the increase to the cost for the Department of Defense to transport several vehicles to the National Mall, the production and execution of the Salute to America event and the additional security involved because Trump attended the event.

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