- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Parades and protests. Fireworks and flyovers. Tanks on the Mall and an angry Baby Trump balloon. The Fourth of July activities on the nation’s capital are shaping up to “be the show of a lifetime,” just as the president has tweeted.

Hundreds of thousands of people from across the country are expected to attend festivities Thursday on the National Mall in celebration of the nation’s 243rd Independence Day. But locals, like Anna Rossoshek of Montgomery County, might be underrepresented among the crowds.

“I am too old to come down for the Fourth,” Ms. Rossoshek said Wednesday. “The Metro is chaotic, like, trying to get back is horrible. But take the Metro regardless. Don’t drive.”

City officials and event organizers also recommend using Metro on Thursday. The subway will open at 7 a.m. and close at 11:30 p.m. It will run on a Saturday schedule and will gradually increase operations to near rush-hour level after 2 p.m.

What’s more, the Arlington Memorial Bridge will be closed to pedestrians and vehicles, and traffic on the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge inbound to Constitution Avenue will be diverted onto the E Street Expressway.

Several parades will close city roads. The Barracks Row Fourth of July Parade begins at 10 a.m., closing Eighth Street SE between D and I streets from 8 a.m. to noon. The Palisades Civic Association Parade, which kicks off at 11 a.m., will close MacArthur Boulevard NW from Whitehaven Park to Edmunds Place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

And the National Independence Day Parade will start at 11:45 a.m. at Constitution Avenue and Seventh Street NW and end around 2 p.m. at Constitution and 17th Street NW. Road closures will begin at 4 a.m. from Constitution to Pennsylvania Avenue NW from Third Street to 23rd Street.

“The parade is a major national event which seeks to draw the attention of Americans to the real meaning for the holiday,” said Gregg Clawson, director of marketing development for the National Independence Day Parade. “It is a patriotic, flag-waving, red-white-and-blue celebration of America’s birthday.”

Meanwhile, various activist groups such as Code Pink are set to demonstrate on and around the Mall, including a display of 20-foot-tall angry Baby Trump balloon. But the balloon will not be airborne, as the National Park Service has prohibited it from being filled with helium.

The National Park Service also limiting access to the Mall to specific entry areas from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.:

Constitution Avenue and 20th Street NW.

Constitution Avenue and 17th Street NW.

The west side of 15th Street at Madison Drive NW.

The west side of 14th Street SW at Jefferson Drive SW.

Maine Avenue SW and Raoul Wallenberg Place SW.

The park service also prohibits all weapons, drones, alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, balloons and kites from entering the Mall. Additionally, all visitors will be screened at the entry points to maximize security.

Tayona Brown, who works at an ice cream kiosk at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, said this is will be her first time working the location on the Fourth.

“I am kinda nervous because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.

President Trump has called for great fanfare with “A Salute to America,” featuring tanks, fighter jets and other military machinery.

Under White House direction, the Pentagon was arranging for an Air Force B-2 stealth bomber and other warplanes to fly over the Mall. There will be Navy F-35 and F-18 fighter jets, the Navy Blue Angels aerial acrobatics team, Army and Coast Guard helicopters and Marine V-22 Ospreys.

Two Bradley Fighting Vehicles were in place Wednesday near the Lincoln Memorial, where Mr. Trump will deliver a speech between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. In addition, two 60-ton Army Abrams battle tanks will be positioned on or near the National Mall.

From 8 to 9:30 p.m., the 39th annual “A Capitol Fourth” celebration on the West Lawn of the Capitol will be hosted by actor John Stamos and offer performances by Carole King, Vanessa Carlton and the National Symphony Orchestra.

The events are planned to culminate in an extended fireworks display beginning at 9:07 p.m. that is expected to last more than 30 minutes.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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