President Donald Trump took the stage Thursday for his “Salute to America” Fourth of July celebration in Washington — a military-inspired event that brought tanks to the Lincoln Memorial.

"Today, we come together as one nation with this very special salute to America," Trump said after taking the stage to chants of "USA." "We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag — the brave men and women of the United States military."

As the president walked out, holding hands with first lady Melania Trump, Air Force One flew over the large crowd assembled on the National Mall.

"That same American spirit that emboldened our founders has kept us strong throughout our history," Trump said.

"To this day, that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot," he continued. "It lives on in each and every one of you."

Throughout his remarks, Trump praised existing military branches and promised that “very soon, the space force” would join them.

"Someday soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars," he said.

After urging young Americans to join the armed forces, Trump invited Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper up to join him on stage. They stood on either side of Trump as he recited the heroics of members of the Coast Guard on D-Day and introduced the air assets the crowd would soon see — expected to be a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, a MH-65 Dophin helicopter and a C-144 turboprop plane, according to two U.S. Defense Department officials familiar with the planning Tuesday.

The Air Force flyover was next, with two F-22 Raptor planes flanking a B-2 stealth bomber. As the roar of the planes faded, more cheers of "USA! USA!" broke out.

The president's speech came after a downpour soaked those who took the president's advice and arrived early to the event. As his remarks got underway, it was unclear whether the military aircraft flyovers would still take place as planned.

More rain and possible thunderstorms are in the forecast for the rest of the evening Thursday, The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch active until 8 p.m. for parts of the nation's capital and the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, The Associated Press reported.

Critics of what Trump said would be the “show of a lifetime” raised concerns about the cost to taxpayers, the appearance of politicizing a traditionally non-partisan celebration and worries that the military is being used as a political prop.

Two Trump re-election campaign officials told NBC News Thursday that the "Salute to America" would not be documented for future campaign ads or video, calling it "entirely an official White House event."