WASHINGTON, D.C. (KETK/NBC News) – It was a rainy day in Washington, D.C., but not even the weather could dampen the July 4th celebration in the nation’s capital.
Called “The Salute to America,” the celebration featured a military display hosted by President Trump, featuring armored vehicles and military flyovers.
The National Parks Service hosted its annual parade down Constitution Avenue. As has become tradition, the parade featured at least one band or unit from each state in the Union.
In a break from tradition, the day also featured a speech by Trump, the first time a sitting president has taken part in the festivities in decades.
Reviews of the event were mixed.
The president’s supporters cheered his presence and celebrated the show of American military hardware. Critics derided the show as Trump’s attempt to inject himself into what has historically been a non-partisan celebration of America.
Protesters held their own parade, featuring banners and the now-infamous Trump Baby Balloon.
But in his speech, Trump avoided any controversial, partisan topics (though Canadians and Scots may dispute his describing Alexander Graham Bell as an American) and spoke largely in praise of the American military, briefly outlining the accomplishments of each branch in turn.
He called on Americans to “stay true to our cause” during an address that adhered to patriotic themes and hailed an eclectic mix of history’s heroes, from the armed forces, space, civil rights and other endeavors of American life.
And, as always, the celebration culminated Thursday night with a magnificent fireworks display over the Potomac River.