More than a century ago, The United States participated in a war that most believed would be the last war anyone would ever fight. It wasn’t. 100 years later, President Trump has called on the U.S. military to prepare a parade that will highlight the anniversary and celebrate America’s military prowess.
On Tuesday, President Trump asked the Pentagon to plan the parade. While no date has been selected, the parade will showcase all of the branches of service.
“White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the request Tuesday evening,” Military Times writes. “She said Trump wants the Pentagon to ‘explore a celebration’ that will allow Americans to show appreciation for the military.”
Charlie Summers, speaking on behalf of the Pentagon, said officials are “looking at options.”
As a candidate, President Trump promised to rebuild America’s military. He’s living up to that promise and the parade would highlight those accomplishments.
Yet the critics of the parade idea are not pleased. Massive military parades are common in North Korea and China, where the parades are often interpreted as an way of reinforcing the totalitarian regime.
In the United States, the military typically operates more subtly. Flyovers at football games are typically the most overt public display. While the public is often invited in to air-shows, or to celebratory gatherings at ports, large scale parades are uncommon.
“Although Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not commented publicly on the idea of a Washington military parade,” MT reports, “the idea is not an obvious fit with his emphasis on focusing strictly, if not exclusively, on military activities that either improve the lethality of the armed forces or enhance their preparation for combat, or both.”
Yet Trump met with Mattis and his top generals in January. One source said Trump was clear about what he wants. “The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France.”
If the parade does coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, the festivities might look like a tribute. There is even discussion of a historical component that would have current soldiers dressed in period uniforms.
Yet the idea is still not sitting well with many.
John Kirby, a retired Navy rear admiral and former spokesman for the State Department and the Pentagon, expressed his feelings in a piece for CNN.
“First of all, the United States doesn’t need a parade down Pennsylvania or any other avenue to show our military strength,” he wrote. “We do that every day in virtually every clime all over the world.”