WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s Independence Day celebration will feature an extensive U.S. military air show over Washington, D.C., but four other cities will get mini-versions of the air power display on Saturday,
The “Salute to the Great Cities of the American Revolution” will feature military flyovers in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore. While the flights will likely be visible from a number of locations in the cities, they are taking place as Americans deal with surging cases of COVID-19 and mixed messages on the need for masks and social distancing.
Trump has been criticized for pushing to go ahead with large rallies and other public gatherings, like the upcoming holiday event, despite the increased risks of infection.
The flyovers will start in Boston at about 4 p.m., with Air Force and Marine Corps jets flying over in five waves. The show will be kicked off by the Air Force Thunderbirds, followed by B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers, F-15 and F-22 fighter jets and U.S. Marine Corps F-35 fighters.
In Boston, they’ll go over the center of the city, approaching from the northeast and flying over the U.S.S. Constitution and Fenway Park.
They will then fly on to New York City, heading down the Hudson River at about 5 p.m., passing just east of the Statue of Liberty. The aircraft will get to Philadelphia at about 5:15 p.m., flying over Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, then they’ll head to Baltimore, where they will reach Fort McHenry around 5:30 p.m., and then continue south toward Washington, D.C. The jets will be flying at about 1,000 feet.
They will then join the larger air show in the nation’s capital, which will begin at about 6:30 p.m. with a demonstration by the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team and a 21-gun salute by the military’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as The Old Guard.
The air show will follow at 7 p.m., and will begin with a flyover by Air Force One. The aerial show will include a wide range of military fighter jets, bombers, helicopters, cargo and tanker aircraft, And it will finish with the military’s elite demonstration teams, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds.
The aircraft will approach the city from Arlington National Cemetery in northern Virginia and fly directly over the Ellipse.
The Army, Navy, Marines Corps and Air Force bands will play.
According to the Pentagon, the shows will not cost taxpayers much because the aircraft crews are using the flyovers to meet routing training and proficiency requirements that would normally be conducted at other locations.
In addition, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the Pentagon would provide about 1,700 troops to support the celebrations.
DoD will provide “aerial, musical and ceremonial support to this year’s celebration in Washington, D.C. This year’s support will also include a flyover of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, as well an aerial salute to several cities that played roles in the American Revolution,” a Pentagon media release stated.