US President Donald Trump on Thursday celebrated America's Independence Day with an unprecedented display of country's military might at a parade in the national capital.
Trump became the first US President in over 70 years to deliver an Independence Day address which the Opposition Democratic leaders criticised for what they alleged politicisation of the country's declaration of independence from Britain on July 4, 1776.
Joined by First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, his cabinet colleagues and top military leadership, Trump in his address to thousands of people said this was an occasion to salute the US soldiers and generals.
"Today we come together as one nation. With this very special salute to America. We celebrate our history by people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag, the brave men and women of the United States military," said the US President.
In his 'Salute to America' address, Trump said the same American spirit that emboldened country's founders has kept its people strong throughout its history.
"To this day that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of you here today. It is the spirit, daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love that built this country into the most exceptional nation in the history of the world, and our nation is stronger today than it ever was before. it is its strongest now," he said.
The President recalled the upcoming anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He recognised Gene Kranz, the NASA flight director from that mission, and promised someday soon that the US will "plant the American flag on Mars".
Trump recognised each branch of the armed forces, noting the Space Force would soon be added. He also recognised law enforcement and Gold Star families.
"Our nation has always honoured the heroes who serve our communities. The firefighters, first responders, police, sheriffs... border patrol and all of the brave men and women of law enforcement. On this July 4th, we pay special tribute to the military service members who laid down their lives for our nation," Trump said.
Several separate flyovers of military aircraft took place as Trump spoke about the legacy of the armed forces.
The air platforms which participated in 'Salute to America' included Air Force One; F-18; MH-60 (1), US Air Force Aircraft B-2/F-22; US Marine Corps Aircraft: V-92/V-22; US Army: Aircraft: AH-64 and US Navy: F-35/F-18.
Among other military equipment were M1A2 Abrams Tanks; M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles; M88 Recovery Vehicle and Contact Truck with crew.
"On this July 4, we pay special tribute to the military service members who laid down their lives for our nation. We are deeply moved to be in the presence this evening of gold star families whose loved ones made the supreme sacrifice," Trump said.
Opposition Democratic leaders criticised Trump for what they alleged politicisation of the Independence Day of the United States.
Two protestors were arrested near the parade site. In addition two secret service agents received minor injuries in a flag-burning incident outside the White House.