(AP NEWS) – President Donald Trump celebrated the story of America as "the greatest political journey in human history" in a Fourth of July commemoration before a soggy but cheering crowd of spectators, many of them invited, on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. Supporters welcomed his tribute to the U.S. military while protesters assailed him for putting himself center stage on a holiday devoted to unity.
As rain fell on him, Trump called on Americans to "stay true to our cause" during a program that adhered to patriotic themes and hailed an eclectic mix of history's heroes, from the armed forces, space, civil rights and other endeavors of American life.
A late afternoon downpour drenched the capital's Independence Day crowds and Trump's speech unfolded in occasional rain. The warplanes and presidential aircraft he had summoned conducted their flyovers as planned, capped by the Navy Blue Angels aerobatics team.
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By adding his own, one-hour "Salute to America" production to capital festivities that typically draw hundreds of thousands anyway, Trump became the first president in nearly seven decades to address a crowd at the National Mall on the Fourth of July.