Popular spot to watch fireworks in Arlington will be closed this year

A popular spot to watch the Fourth of July fireworks in Arlington, Virginia, will be closed this year.

The Air Force Memorial, which is located near the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, will be closed to the public on July 4 because of an ongoing construction project at Arlington National Cemetery, the Air Force said in a news release. The one-day closure is due to the fact that so many people go there to watch fireworks.

The memorial, which features three curved steel spires, will reopen July 5.

“For years, the Air Force Memorial has offered an incredible backdrop to celebrate our nation’s independence,” said Maj. Gen. Joel Jackson, Air Force District of Washington commander in a statement. “However, ongoing construction near the site in support of the Arlington National Cemetery’s Southern Expansion Project prevents us from safely hosting people during this year’s celebration.”

In any given year, a few thousand people usually take in the fireworks display on the National Mall from the area around the Air Force memorial.

“While we recognize it has become an annual tradition for many visitors and local community members to view the fireworks and commemorate this patriotic day from the Air Force Memorial, this is an active construction site, which poses a significant safety and security risk. Our priority is to keep our visitors safe and allow them the time needed to make alternative plans this holiday,” said Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery Executive Director Karen Durham-Aguilera.

The Air Force and Arlington National Cemetery consulted with the Arlington County Police Department, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency and other authorities to conduct a safety and security assessment before deciding to close the area around the memorial to the public.

The cemetery’s expansion project will add 38 acres, which is the largest expansion in the cemetery’s history.

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Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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