05:33 GMT21 October 2020
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    US servicemen will take part in Independence Day celebrations in Washington DC this year. The decision to involve the military was reportedly made at the last moment, leaving the Pentagon scrambling to prepare.

    The US Department of Defense issued a memo for servicemen slated to take part in 4th of July celebrations at the National Mall in Washington DC, telling them what to say and what not to say if approached by reporters or the public.

    According to photos provided my Mother Jones editor Matt Cohen, the servicemen were issued cards bearing “messages” US soldiers should repeat during the event. Among those are “I am proud to serve this Nation,” “I am proud to honour the Nation and the Armed Forces” and “I am proud of my job and my vehicle/tank.”

    The cards also include guidelines suggesting that service people should “use simple sentences” and “make positive statements.” The guidelines reportedly do not encourage soldiers to remain tight-lipped, but suggests that they “be conversational” and “smile and have fun.”

    The ‘don’t’ section suggests soldiers refrain from saying “anything they don’t want to be heard or recorded,” “guess, lie or speculate” or talking “off the record,” pointing out that a journalist’s microphone is “always ON”.

    “You are always a representative for the US Army. Keep this in mind during all interactions, in or out of uniform,” the memo reads. “These messages and tips apply to all communications, not just interviews.”

    ​On July 4th, the military will participate in an Independence Day celebration dubbed “Salute to America.” The event will involve the deployment of tanks and armoured vehicles at The Mall, as well as flyovers of various jets, including Air Force One.

    Earlier reports indicated that numerous US agencies were forced to divert large sums of taxpayer money to fund the event. Trump has been criticized for his plan to speak at the Lincoln Memorial, an event to which only VIP tickets have been provided. 

    Pentagon representatives confessed that their participation in the July 4th celebrations was only decided several weeks ago.


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