Fireworks, flyovers and tanks filled Washington Thursday (July 1) night - in a Fourth of July President Trump promised would be the show of a lifetime.
(Soundbite) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "We are Americans and the future belongs to us." Trump put himself front and center of this year's celebrations reveling in a show of pomp and patriotism and delivering a high-profile speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
(Soundbite) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Our nation is stronger today than it ever was before.
It is its strongest now." Trump put U.S. military might on center stage at his year's celebrations despite having avoided the draft during the Vietnam War due to bone spurs.
He promoted his production in the capital as a tribute to the Armed Forces.
(Soundbite) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "To young Americans across our country, now is your chance to join our military, and make a truly great statement in life.
And you should do it." U.S. Border Patrol and ICE were also given special mentions both have been key in his tough immigration policy.
He also cited Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass as 'great Americans' - both campaigned for the abolition of slavery.
In May, his White House decided to keep Tubman's image off the $20 bill.
(Soundbite) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "The skies belong to the United States of America." Trump played down the expense of showcasing F-18 jets and the production value of the what's been dubbed the 'Salute to America.'
So far - the White House has refused to say how much the day's events would cost.
(Soundbite) (English) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING: "I'm not quite sure that we need money to go in to put tanks in downtown Washington, DC." Democrats have accused him of wasting taxpayers money, and politicizing the event ahead of the 2020 election.
No president has spoken during celebrations in the capital in nearly 70 years.