Interior Secretary David Bernhardt gave details Wednesday on a makeover of the traditional Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to accommodate a speech by President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial.
A day after Trump officially began his re-election campaign in Florida, Bernhardt said the July 4 events will include the military parade Trump has wanted since being impressed by the July 14 Bastille Day festivities in Paris he attended in 2017.
Trump teased the July 4 plan in a tweet in February.
"HOLD THE DATE! We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th. It will be called 'A Salute To America' and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial," he said. "Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!"
In a release, Bernhardt, whose department includes the National Park Service, said the National Independence Day Parade along Constitution Avenue NW from 7th Street to 17th Street NW will feature marching bands, a fife and drum corps, floats, military units, giant balloons, equestrian and drill teams and more" in a "red, white and blue celebration of America's birthday!"
As opposed to previous July 4 events on the Mall, this year's will also include a flyover by military jets, Bernhardt said.
"Additionally, this year for the first time in recent memory, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, the World War II Memorial and Constitution Gardens will each be accessible and available as a location from which to view the fireworks," Bernhardt said.
The Reflecting Pool was the launch site for the fireworks in previous July 4 celebrations and was off-limits for safety reasons, but this year the launch site is being moved to West Potomac Park behind the Lincoln Memorial to accommodate Trump's speech, Bernhardt said. Trump's speech would honor the military branches, he said.
Historically, previous presidents have either held events at the White House or been out of town for the Fourth of July, according to a lengthy accounting from the National Park Service.
In 1791, President George Washington gave an address in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and then took a walk about town, the Park Service said.
President Dwight Eisenhower spent July 4, 1953, at the Camp David, Maryland, presidential retreat and played a round of golf at a nearby course, the Park Service said.
In 2008, President George W. Bush hosted a naturalization ceremony at the White House for 72 new U.S. citizens from 30 countries, the Park Service said.
In 2010, President Barack Obama hosted a barbecue on the south lawn of the White House for 1,200 members of the military and their families.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.