‘Salute to America’ abstains from political tone, highlights historical achievements and military

In the shadow of the monuments and looming storms, crowds streamed into D.C. for Fourth of July celebrations.

Some came to hear President Donald Trump’s speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, some came to see the fireworks show and some came to join several protests along the National Mall.

Trump salutes America

Trump tweeted that the weather was “looking good,” before heading toward the Lincoln Memorial to deliver a speech for the “Salute to America” portion of the festivities. Trump spoke as it rained on and off. His address started on time, around 6:30 p.m.

His speech was largely apolitical; he did not segue into his political agenda or his re-election campaign. Instead he focused on achievements of Americans throughout history.

He pointed to special guests and historical figures from U.S. history who have contributed to the story of the country. These included an official from NASA who was involved in the moon landing, a woman who provided hundreds of meals to victims of Hurricane Michael and a nun who helped victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Trump touched upon moments and people in U.S. history, including Frederick Douglass, Betsy Ross, Martin Luther King Jr. and women’s suffrage.

Among the special guests who were in the ticketed VIP section were Gold Star families, relatives of U.S. military members who have died in battle.

Trump’s speech enumerated the branches of the military, punctuated by a show of military vehicles and the traditional songs of each branch.

The speech ended with the singing of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a flyover by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and a rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”

Watch a video of Trump’s speech.

Protests

WTOP’s Mike Murillo reported there was some back and forth between protesters and supporters of Trump, but it was fairly peaceful between the two groups.

“Even though everybody has different opinions,” Kevin Malton, a Trump supporter from Middlesboro, Kentucky, told The Associated Press. “Everybody’s getting along.”

But Daniela Guray, a 19-year-old from Chicago who held a “Dump Trump” sign, said she was subjected to a racial epithet while walking along the Constitution Avenue parade route and told to go home.

A group of Trump’s supporters played the national anthem on a bugle, just steps away from an inflatable image of Trump sitting on a toilet.

“It’s unpatriotic,” said one supporter of the inflatable. “Like a half-naked Trump on a toilet … there’s kids out here. Kids don’t need to see that.”

Outside the White house, two people were arrested during a protest where a U.S. flag was burned, according to a Secret Service news release.

There were concerns that Trump’s address would be like one of his political rallies, especially when it became known there would be a ticketed section at the Lincoln Memorial.

Trump set aside a historic piece of real estate — a stretch of the Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the midpoint of the reflecting pool — for a mix of invited military members, Republican and Trump campaign donors, and other bigwigs, The Associated Press reported.

Those tickets came at no cost, but the White House did not say specifically how they were allocated.

Local officials expressed concern over the cost of the celebrations and what the heavy military vehicles the president requested would do to D.C. area road infrastructures.

Susan Foulds, of D.C., said that it’s depressing how the July Fourth celebrations in D.C. have been co-opted. “So many people showing up to this Republican political rally on a day that’s meant for all Americans,” she said.

Fireworks lit the D.C. sky on July 4, 2019. (WTOP/Jared Ruderman)
Fireworks lit the D.C. sky on July 4, 2019. (WTOP/Jared Ruderman) (WTOP/Jared Ruderman)
The explosions filled the air with smoke that it became hard to see the fireworks. (WTOP/Jared Ruderman)
The explosions filled the air with smoke that it became hard to see the fireworks. (WTOP/Jared Ruderman) (WTOP/Jared Ruderman)
Fireworks seen from the Lincoln Memorial explode over the Potomac River for Independence Day, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Fireworks seen from the Lincoln Memorial explode over the Potomac River for Independence Day, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
Fireworks light the sky near the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks light the sky near the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks light the sky near the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks light the sky near the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Crowds gathered around the National Mall Thursday evening for Independence Day activities. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Crowds gathered around the National Mall Thursday evening for Independence Day activities. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Military planes fly over Independence Avenue in D.C. Thursday evening. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Military planes fly over Independence Avenue in D.C. Thursday evening. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
People wait for President Donald Trump to speak at an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)
People wait for President Donald Trump to speak at an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool) (AP/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: People gather on the National Mall ahead of President Trump's speech during Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 04: People gather on the National Mall ahead of President Donald Trump’s speech during Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Trump is holding a “Salute to America” celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Stephanie Keith)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: People gather on the National Mall ahead of President Trump's speech during Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 04: People gather on the National Mall ahead of President Donald Trump’s speech during Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Trump is holding a “Salute to America” celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Stephanie Keith)
Bands perform during the opening festivities of President Donald Trump's "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in D.C. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 04: Bands perform during the opening festivities of President Donald Trump’s “Salute to America” ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, D.C. The presentation will feature armored vehicles, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Sarah Silbiger)
Air Force One flies over the National Mall. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Air Force One flies over the National Mall. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: People gather on the National Mall ahead of President Trump's speech during Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 04: People gather on the National Mall ahead of President Trump’s speech during Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a “Salute to America” celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Stephanie Keith)
The U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performs during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performs during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence, arrive for an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence, arrive for an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
The U.S. Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps performs in the rain during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The U.S. Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps performs in the rain during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, arrives speaks to an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, arrives speaks to an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
President Donald Trump speaks during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: People pass by a sculpture of President Donal Trump on a toilet during the Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 04: People pass by a sculpture of President Donal Trump on a toilet during the Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Stephanie Keith)
Supporters of President Donald Trump who did not wish to provide their names, walk on the National Mall in Washington as rain falls before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Supporters of President Donald Trump who did not wish to provide their names, walk on the National Mall in Washington as rain falls before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
A National Guard vehicle sits parked at a security perimeter near the National Mall in Washington before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A National Guard vehicle sits parked at a security perimeter near the National Mall in Washington before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
The security line on 17th Street and Constitution Avenue moves along. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
The security line on 17th Street and Constitution Avenue moves along. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
A protester and Trump supporters engage in a conversation during the July Fourth activities at the National Mall. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A protester and Trump supporters engage in a conversation during the July Fourth activities at the National Mall. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Crowds flock to the National Mall for July Fourth celebrations
Crowds flock to the National Mall for July Fourth celebrations. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A protester unwraps a sculpture depicting President Donald Trump holding a cell phone on a toilet before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A protester unwraps a sculpture depicting President Donald Trump holding a cell phone on a toilet before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
A Baby Trump balloon stands on the National Mall in Washington before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A Baby Trump balloon stands on the National Mall in Washington before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
Everett Loud, of Corning, N.Y., and dressed as President Abraham Lincoln, stands near a sculpture of President Donald Trump holding a cell phone while sitting on a toilet before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Everett Loud, of Corning, N.Y., and dressed as President Abraham Lincoln, stands near a sculpture of President Donald Trump holding a cell phone while sitting on a toilet before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
A supporter of President Donald Trump who gave his name as Moto Moto, left, of Brooklyn, N.Y., debates with protesters in front of a sculpture of President Trump holding a cell phone while sitting on a toilet before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A supporter of President Donald Trump who gave his name as Moto Moto, left, of Brooklyn, N.Y., debates with protesters in front of a sculpture of President Donald Trump holding a cell phone while sitting on a toilet before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
Kathleen Otal, of Arlington, Va., holds up a sign before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Kathleen Otal, of Arlington, Va., holds up a sign before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
National Park Service rangers view a Baby Trump balloon before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
National Park Service rangers view a Baby Trump balloon before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
Members of the District of Columbia National Guard walk near a Baby Trump balloon before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Members of the District of Columbia National Guard walk near a Baby Trump balloon before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
Robert Kennedy
Protester Robert Kennedy grabs for a rope as he helps move a Baby Trump balloon into position before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
A supporter of President Donald Trump makes her way through a security checkpoint before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A supporter of President Donald Trump makes her way through a security checkpoint before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
A Baby Trump balloon stands on the National Mall in Washington before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A Baby Trump balloon stands on the National Mall in Washington before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
Protesters move a Baby Trump balloon into position before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Protesters move a Baby Trump balloon into position before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
People photograph a Baby Trump balloon as it is moved into position before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
People photograph a Baby Trump balloon as it is moved into position before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP/Patrick Semansky)
An inflatable image of President Donald Trump as a baby has been deflated, so protesters are using a flag image of it instead. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
An inflatable image of President Donald Trump as a baby has been deflated, so protesters are using a flag image of it instead. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
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Fireworks lit the D.C. sky on July 4, 2019. (WTOP/Jared Ruderman)
The explosions filled the air with smoke that it became hard to see the fireworks. (WTOP/Jared Ruderman)
Fireworks seen from the Lincoln Memorial explode over the Potomac River for Independence Day, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Fireworks light the sky near the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Fireworks light the sky near the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Crowds gathered around the National Mall Thursday evening for Independence Day activities. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Military planes fly over Independence Avenue in D.C. Thursday evening. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
People wait for President Donald Trump to speak at an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: People gather on the National Mall ahead of President Trump's speech during Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: People gather on the National Mall ahead of President Trump's speech during Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Bands perform during the opening festivities of President Donald Trump's "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in D.C. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
Air Force One flies over the National Mall. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: People gather on the National Mall ahead of President Trump's speech during Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
The U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performs during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence, arrive for an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The U.S. Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps performs in the rain during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, arrives speaks to an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Donald Trump speaks during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: People pass by a sculpture of President Donal Trump on a toilet during the Fourth of July festivities on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Supporters of President Donald Trump who did not wish to provide their names, walk on the National Mall in Washington as rain falls before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A National Guard vehicle sits parked at a security perimeter near the National Mall in Washington before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The security line on 17th Street and Constitution Avenue moves along. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
A protester and Trump supporters engage in a conversation during the July Fourth activities at the National Mall. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Crowds flock to the National Mall for July Fourth celebrations
A protester unwraps a sculpture depicting President Donald Trump holding a cell phone on a toilet before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A Baby Trump balloon stands on the National Mall in Washington before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Everett Loud, of Corning, N.Y., and dressed as President Abraham Lincoln, stands near a sculpture of President Donald Trump holding a cell phone while sitting on a toilet before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A supporter of President Donald Trump who gave his name as Moto Moto, left, of Brooklyn, N.Y., debates with protesters in front of a sculpture of President Trump holding a cell phone while sitting on a toilet before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Kathleen Otal, of Arlington, Va., holds up a sign before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
National Park Service rangers view a Baby Trump balloon before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Members of the District of Columbia National Guard walk near a Baby Trump balloon before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Robert Kennedy
A supporter of President Donald Trump makes her way through a security checkpoint before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A Baby Trump balloon stands on the National Mall in Washington before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Protesters move a Baby Trump balloon into position before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
People photograph a Baby Trump balloon as it is moved into position before Independence Day celebrations, Thursday, July 4, 2019, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
An inflatable image of President Donald Trump as a baby has been deflated, so protesters are using a flag image of it instead. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

Threat of severe weather

Multiple outlets reported that the west front of the U.S. Capitol was evacuated due to severe weather. The West Lawn of the Capitol is the site of the annual “A Capitol Fourth” event.

The threat of severe weather caused one of the scheduled performers, the U.S. Navy Band’s Country Current show, to cancel its performance.

People got a temporary reprieve from the sweltering heat enough to take out their umbrellas, as the region got pelted by heavy rain just around 3 p.m., sending some attendees to take cover under umbrellas, trees, tents or even under a raised platform.

The threat of thunderstorms affected a group of protesters, as well. An inflatable “Baby Trump” balloon figure had to be deflated as the rain moved in at the National Mall.

Fireworks

Among the changes in this year’s July Fourth celebration was the launch site of the fireworks display. This year they were launched at West Potomac Park. They had been launched from a location along the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool for the last several years.

Two of the U.S. biggest pyrotechnic companies, Phantom Fireworks and Fireworks by Grucci, donated their services and products to this year’s show.  The CEO for Phantom Fireworks spoke with Trump on Chinese tariffs in a private meeting just weeks before donating $750,000 worth of fireworks for the “Salute to America” July 4 show.

The stunning display started off with fireworks that hung in the air like slow-falling glitter and some that spelled out U-S-A, WTOP’s Michelle Basch reported form the National Mall. But the explosions left so much smoke in the air that they became hard to see.

“It looked like a colorful thunderstorm,” Basch said.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo and Michelle Basch, who reported from the National Mall in D.C., and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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