Trump to mark Memorial Day at ceremony at Baltimore monument

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Evan Vucci, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – Many Americans may be staying in this Memorial Day weekend, but President Donald Trump is hitting the road, set to visit Baltimore’s Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

The White House says the president and first lady will participate in a Memorial Day ceremony at the site on Monday “to honor the American heroes who have sacrificed their lives serving in the US Armed Forces.” The hoisting of the American flag after the fort defended Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812 inspired the poem that came to be known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Trump has sought to ramp up his travel schedule as he looks to demonstrate that the nation is “reopening” after economically devastating shutdowns were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. The virus has infected more than 1.5 million Americans and cost more than 92,000 U.S. lives.

The visit is set to come just over a week after Maryland began to lift some of its stay-at-home restrictions because of the coronavirus, though “safer-at-home” guidelines remain in place.

The Trumps are to be joined by Defense Secretary Mark Esper; Interior Secretary David Bernhardt; Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and military ceremonial units.

Trump was also considering travel next week to Florida to view the launch of the first U.S. manned spaceflight since the retirement of the space shuttle, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday. Hosting Vice President Mike Pence in his state, DeSantis said, “You’re going to be there. I think the big guy is going to be there.”

Trump marked Memorial Day last year aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier in Japan, where he was on a state visit. He participated in ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in his first two years in office.