Washington, May 11 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has effectively taken charge of the countrys premier Fourth of July celebration in Washington, moving the gargantuan fireworks display from its usual spot and making tentative plans to address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, according to top administration officials.
Fireworks on the Mall, which the National Park Service has orchestrated for more than half a century, draw hundreds of thousands of Americans annually and mark one of the highlights of the city’s tourist season, The Washington Post reported.
The event has been broadcast live on television since 1947 and since 1981 has been accompanied by a free concert on the West Lawn of the US Capitol featuring high-profile musicians and a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra.
The new event, to be called “A Salute to America,” will shift the fireworks launch to West Potomac Park, less than a mile southwest of its usual location near the Washington Monument.
In addition to a possible address by Trump, the location may feature a second stage of entertainment apart from the performers at the Capitol, the administration officials said on Friday.
The new event has become a top priority for new Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, whom Trump tasked with the job three months ago, the officials added.
The President has received regular briefings on the effort in the Oval Office and has gotten involved in the minutiae of the planning – even discussing whether the fireworks should be launched from a barge in the Potomac River, they said.
Trump has sometimes featured fireworks at his political events, including at a campaign rally this week in Panama City, Florida.
The Trump administration is also taking steps to expand fireworks celebrations elsewhere in the US.
No US President has participated in a Fourth of July celebration on the Mall, usually celebrating instead at the White House.
Late President Ronald Reagan participated in a “Star Spangled Salute to America” at the Jefferson Memorial on July 3, 1987, which showcased an economic announcement, but the regular fireworks celebration happened the next day as usual.