Details of DC’s Fourth of July celebration revealed by Interior Department

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The Department of the Interior and National Parks Service on Wednesday announced details about Fourth of July celebrations in Washington D.C. over the weekend, which will include military flyovers, a salute from President Trump, and a “monumental” fireworks display.

The agency on Wednesday said the celebrations will include multiple flight demonstrations from different branches of the U.S. military, including the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. The flyovers will feature aircraft from the vintage WWII time period, and will highlight historic aircraft.

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The flyovers are expected to begin at 6:45 p.m. and end at 8:00 p.m.

The president and first lady Melania Trump are also expected to participate in the celebrations, hosting a “2020 Salute to America” on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday, July 4, which will be streamed on the White House website.

“President Trump’s 2020 Salute to America will be a patriotic tribute to our men and women in uniform, and the Department of Defense will be providing a one-of-a-kind air show,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said Wednesday. “An incredible fireworks display will follow that promises to be the largest in recent memory.”

More than 10,000 fireworks are expected to be launched from an area more than a mile in length “from Inlet Bridge at the south end of West Potomac Park to north of the Lincoln Memorial” as well as on the grounds of the Washington Monument, the department said Wednesday.

Bernhardt said the fireworks display, which will begin around 9:00 p.m. and last for approximately 35 minutes, will be visible throughout D.C. and Northern Virginia, including public locations such as Anacostia Park, Meridian Hill Park, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

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The department also said that more than 800 acres of the National Mall and Memorial Parks would be accessible for viewing the flyovers and the fireworks, including the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, World War II Memorial, East Potomac Park, Washington Monument grounds, and the National Mall grounds.

Meanwhile, the Interior Department urged on-lookers of the fireworks to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, including practicing social distancing, wearing a mask or face covering, and avoiding public events if experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.

The agency also said it would supply more than 300,000 cloth face coverings and distribute them to visitors attending the celebrations at the National Mall. The department said, however, that the face coverings are “not surgical masks or respirators,” and warned that “supplies are limited” and “visitors should not rely upon receiving a mask.”

The details come after members of the House and Senate from Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., led by Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., asked the administration to “immediately suspend” Fourth of July plans in D.C. in a letter to Bernhardt and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

“As President Trump has said, there will be an Independence Day celebration this year and it will have a different look than 2019 to ensure the health and safety of those attending,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement in May. “The American people have shown tremendous courage and spirit in the fight against this global pandemic just as our forefathers did in the fight to secure our independence, and both deserve celebration on America’s birthday this year.”

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