President Donald Trump is preparing to address an Independence Day military parade event in Washington DC that he promises will be the “show of a lifetime”.
Thousands of troops are being assembled at a red-, white- and blue-draped Lincoln Memorial to hear the first such speech by a president since 1951.
Armored carriers and tanks are part of the “Salute to America” backdrop.
Opponents accuse President Trump of politicizing the holiday ahead of a re-election campaign and wasting taxpayer’s money.
The Pentagon has not revealed the cost of the parade, which many believe was inspired by President Trump’s visit to the Bastille Day parade hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Some reports say the National Park Service is diverting nearly $2.5 million to cover the cost.
As well as tanks, President Trump’s 4th of July celebration will also feature a military jet flyover and an extended fireworks show.
As the armored vehicles were transported from a railyard in south-eastern Washington DC on July 2, military officials advised residents not to be alarmed.
The two 70-tonne Abrams tanks have to stay on a side road as they are too heavy for the memorial’s surrounding areas.
In a morning tweet, President Trump said the parade was “turning out to be one of the biggest celebrations in the history of our Country”.
The president will be keeping a keen eye on the turnout, given the arguments over the claimed attendance of his inauguration ceremony back in 2017.
The event will be open to the public free of charge, apart from a ticketed area for VIPs in front of the memorial.
Large numbers of Trump supporters wearing Make American Great Again hats – and opponents upset at the cost – have been descending on the capital.
The musical playlist includes the Star Wars theme and Hail to the Chief.
Donald Trump’s speech is at 18:30 local time.
The president will be joined by a Pentagon delegation led by the highest-ranking US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford.
However, the service chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will not attend.
The Defense Department said in a statement it had received 5,000 tickets from the White House.
The White House has also distributed VIP tickets to major donors and political appointees, amid reported concerns that empty seats might be visible.
President Trump said in a tweet that the expense “will be very little compared to what it is worth”.
Military flyovers alone cost tens of thousands of dollars per hour.
President Trump’s plans for a military display on Veterans Day in November 2018 were dropped after defense officials said it would cost about $92 million – more than three times the original estimate.