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1,700 troops will support Trump 'Salute to America' celebrations July 4: Pentagon

The Pentagon announced Saturday that roughly 1,700 service members will be involved in the federal government’s upcoming July 4 celebrations. 

Secretary of Defense Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: US, India to share satellite data | Allegations of racism at Virginia Military Institute | Navy IDs 2 killed in Alabama plane crash US, India to share sensitive satellite data Trump has list of top intelligence officials he'll fire if he wins reelection: report MORE approved a request from the Department of the Interior for defense officials to “support to the 2020 Salute to America,” on July 4, according to a Saturday statement.

Trump’s 2019 expanded Independence Day commemorations were dubbed a “Salute to America.” The celebrations this year will also bare this name.

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This year’s celebrations will include a flyover of Mount Rushmore, in addition to an “areal salute” in cities that “played roles in the American Revolution,” beginning in Boston and proceeding to New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., according to the Saturday statement.

The Defense Department will also “provide aerial, musical and ceremonial support” for the commemoration.

The Pentagon said Saturday that the flyovers are "an opportunity for DoD to demonstrate the capabilities and professionalism of the United States Armed Forces."

Independence Day celebrations last year included flyovers by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, B-2 stealth bomber, and F-22 Raptor, USA Today reported. Trump’s expanded Fourth of July celebrations last year doubled the cost of previous years, using $13 million in taxpayer funds, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The 2019 event included a new fireworks show, a military display and a speech from the president on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  

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Lawmakers have asked the president to cancel the Fourth of July event this year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Ten lawmakers representing the National Capital region sent a letter to Esper and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Tuesday expressing concerns over the event sparking an outbreak. 

"Given the current COVID-19 crisis, we believe such an event would needlessly risk the health and safety of thousands of Americans," the lawmakers wrote. The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and signed by Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinBipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning Pelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' Congress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out MORE (D-Md.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Democratic senators offer bill to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers MORE (D-Md.) and House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerTop Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate Trump orders aides to halt talks on COVID-19 relief This week: Coronavirus complicates Senate's Supreme Court fight MORE (D-Md.), and others.

"Further, this event would come at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars while we are facing an unprecedented economic downturn due to the pandemic," they added.

The White House said in a statement this week that "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."