An Associated Press photographer snapped several pictures of at least two M1 Abrams main battle tanks and several Bradley Fighting Vehicles on Monday on flat train cars in a railyard at the southeastern edge of Washington. These military vehicles will participate in President Trump's July Fourth celebrations in Washington on Thursday.
President Trump confirmed the military vehicles would be present at the celebration on Thursday.
"I'm going to be here, and I'm going to say a few words, and we're going to have planes going overhead, the best fighter jets in the world and other planes too and we're gonna have some tanks stationed outside," Trump said.
"You've got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks, so we have to put them in certain areas, but we have the brand new Sherman tanks, and we have the brand new Abrams tanks," Trump added.
As a correction to Trump's "brand new Sherman tanks" comment, those tanks were most widely used during World War II and through the 1950s - have been out of service for decades.
Trump raised a few eyebrows when he suggested early last year that a military parade should be held in downtown Washington. By August, the DoD postponed the parade to 2019. So tanks in Washington for the celebration on Thursday could be a small extension of what Trump was trying to accomplish last year. Local government officials had objected to 67-ton tanks rolling down city streets because of the damage it could do to roadways.
Trump offered no specifics on where the tanks would be showcased, nor any other details if they will take part in parades.
The display of American firepower - part of tradition in nations such as Russia and China - is being referred to as a "Salute to America," and will feature fireworks and a speech from Trump. We view this as a salute to the military industrial complex - in a time where the threat of war with Iran has recently surged.
Thursday's celebration will also feature military demonstrations by the Blue Angels and F-35 stealth jets.
"We're going to have a great Fourth of July in Washington, D.C. It'll be like no other," Trump said. "It'll be special and I hope a lot of people come. And it's going to be about this country, and it's a Salute to America."
"I'm going to say a few words, and we're going to have planes going overhead, the best fighter jets in the world and other planes, too," he said.
A Pentagon memo said the parade would "include wheeled vehicles only, no tanks," adding that "attention must be given to reduce damage to local infrastructure.
Trump will be giving his "Salute to America" speech on the National Mall this Thursday, an unusual move by the President. Trump's "Salute to America" with tanks, stealth jets, and fireworks could be an ominous sign that Washington is preparing for wartime.