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Date TimeJuly 04, 2019
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Trump dismisses fears his tanks will damage Lincoln Memorial during Salute to America parade
Donald Trump has reportedly dismissed concerns that tanks and other military vehicles on display as part of his Independence Day parade could damage the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. At least two M1A1 Abrams tanks and two Bradley armoured carriers will be moved to the heart of Washington for the US president's "Salute to America" .The National Park Service will reportedly divert nearly $2.5m to cover the cost of the event, which Mr Trump described as “the show of a lifetime”.But aides allegedly warned Mr Trump that driving tanks near the Lincoln memorial would “tear up the streets” on its grounds, which are not designed to hold the weight of a vehicle that exceeds 60 tons. Each M1A1 Abrams tank weighs 63 tons. "There were many long conversations with the boss about this," one former senior administration official told the Washington Post.Another defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that many top military officials were not aware that the president definitely wanted tanks involved in the parade until last week.The two M1A1 Abrams tanks were shipped to Washington from Fort Stewart in Georgia over the weekend, via freight train, along with other armoured vehicles.National Park Service officials also reportedly remain concerned about the damage the tanks could cause to the grounds of the memorial.It comes after the government spent $30.7m to refurbish the memorial under the Obama administration in 2017.On the day before the parade, Army Colonel Sunset Belinsky told CBS News that residents of the capital city "will see the vehicles move through their neighbourhoods, but should not panic".As well as tanks, Mr Trump's 4 July celebration will feature a military jet flyover, an extended fireworks show and speech by the president at the Lincoln Memorial.Ahead of the event, Mr Trump tweeted: “Our July 4th Salute to America at the Lincoln Memorial is looking to be really big. It will be the show of a lifetime!”The last time a US president gave a speech in Washington on 4 July was in 1951 when Harry Truman spoke on the Washington Monument to mark the 175th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.This year’s event will be open to the public free of charge, apart from a ticketed area for VIPs in front of the Lincoln Memorial.However, Donald Trump’s aides fear an embarrassingly small crowd may turn out to the event, according to a report.He has also been criticised over the probable cost of the event, which is expected to run into the millions.But he dismissed these complaints in a tweet on Wednesday, writing: “The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth. We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!”




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