WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump honored the military during his “Salute to America” speech Thursday night at the Lincoln Memorial and announced that he intends to send a manned spacecraft to Mars.

“The same American spirit that emboldened our founders,” Trumps said, “runs through the vein of every American patriot. It is the spirit…that built this country into the most exceptional nation in the history of the world. And our nation is stronger today than it ever was before.”

A woman wears a pair of Trump glasses and waves a board saying “Trump 2020” at the National Mall on Thursday. Hundreds of thousands packed the National Mall despite the rainy weather. (Kimberly Jin/MEDILL)

Trump announced that “we’ll plant an American flag on Mars.”

In his approximately 45-minute speech, Trump gave a brief history of U.S. achievements, touching upon the abolition of slavery, the women’s rights movement, groundbreaking innovations by U.S. scientists and doctors, trend-leading art and music events in the nation, among others.

“We are one people, chasing one dream, and one magnificent destiny,” Trump told the crowd. “We all share the same heroes, the same home, the same heart, and we are all made by the same Almighty God.”

It was the first time in decades that a president participated in the July 4 celebration on the National Mall. Hundreds of thousands packed the National Mall despite the drenching and muggy weather. Two army tanks were on display in front of the stage.

It was unclear how much  the “Salute to America” event cost, but several news reports said that the National Park Service has diverted nearly $2.5 million from its entrance and recreation fee to cover part of the cost and the exhibit of military arsenal would cost the Pentagon over $1 million.