President Donald Trump’s July 4th celebration in Washington will feature one of the largest fireworks displays ever, officials said Wednesday, and as many as 300,000 face masks will be given away to those who come down to the National Mall, although they won’t be required to wear them.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt outlined a second year of military-focused Independence Day events in the nation’s capital, including Defense Department flyovers for a “one-of-a-kind air show.”
“President Trump’s 2020 Salute to America will be a patriotic tribute to our men and women in uniform,” Bernhardt said in a statement.
A mile-long firing of 10,000 fireworks would be “the largest in recent memory,” Bernhardt said.
The Trump administration’s Salute to America comes as Americans are dealing with surging cases of COVID-19 and a resulting recession and wave of unemployment. Trump has been criticized by some for pushing to go ahead with large campaign rallies and other public gatherings, such as this weekend’s events, despite the increased risks of infection.
Bernhardt said authorities planned to have 300,000 face coverings on hand to give away at the National Mall. The Interior Department said visitors would be encouraged to wear masks and keep a six-foot distance from one another. It did not indicate that would be mandatory, despite the recommendations of health officials.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump plan to host events from the White House south lawn and from the Ellipse on Saturday, the day after Trump attends a separate fireworks display and public gathering at Mount Rushmore.
This year’s event will roll out without military vehicles. After Trump had expressed admiration for France’s military-themed parades, last year’s Independence Day events, featuring an address by Trump near the Lincoln Memorial and military flyover, included stationary displays of Bradley fighting vehicles.
Blood Pressure Solution Hiding in Your Kitchen? [sponsored]
An Interior Department inspector general’s report last week estimated the partial price tag of last year’s DC Salute to America at $13 million, twice as much as previous years’, in part because of the cost of including the Bradleys.
Like last year, donations are helping support part of the cost of the July 4th events, Bernhardt said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article