US President Donald Trump has reportedly asked the Pentagon to begin planning a military parade to be held in the nation. The President had indicated his interest in organizing a military parade after witnessing the festivities during Bastille Day in France in 2017. This would be the first military parade held in the US in 30 years.
Historically, military parades were popular in the US during World War I and World War II. In 1942 and 1946, military parades were held in the city of New York. For nearly 11 hours, civilians and service members marched in front of more than 2 million spectators lining the streets. In 1946, another military parade was held in New York to celebrate the Allied Powers' victory over the coalition of Axis Powers in World War II.
Military parade was also held in 1953 as part of US President Eisenhower’s inauguration. It was also organized during his second inauguration. US President John F Kennedy’s inauguration also showcased military prowess of the nation. The next military parade took place in 1991. It was a victory parade for the Gulf war. It was the last military parade ever held and it occurred during the Presidency of George HW Bush. In Washington, armored vehicles and missile systems rolled by as stealth fighter planes flew above. An estimated 200,000 people filled the streets.
Colonel David Lapan, spokesman for General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in 2012 that he was not interested in throwing a parade to mark the end of Iraq War noting, “We simply don't think a national-level parade is appropriate while we continue to have America’s sons and daughters in harm’s way.”
US President Donald Trump expressed interest in organizing a military parade in 2017. He visited France to partake in the nation’s Bastille Day celebrations. The Bastille Day always hosts a military parade as well and Trump said he was impressed by what he had witnessed. “To a large extent because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4 in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump told reporters in September. “We’re actually looking into it.”
US President Donald Trump is a polarizing figure in world politics. He has found himself being criticized for his actions and his statements in the past. He has been accused of sexism, misogyny, racism and more. Business leaders like Elon Musk have left councils within the administration due to statements made by Trump. He has often spoken highly of the military despite having not served in the Vietnam War after receiving five draft deferments.
Some of the nations that organize military parades are North Korea, France and China.
The Washington Post first reported in February 2018 that President Trump had requested the Pentagon as well as the White House administration to begin preparations for a military parade. He specially mentioned France while describing his vision to the officials.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” the official told the Post. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
The White House has since confirmed that an event is in the works, though it did not offer further details. “President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
The White House’s announcement attracted divisive reactions – something that has marked the Presidency of Donald Trump. On Tuesday retired general Paul Eaton, senior adviser to VoteVets, a progressive political action committee for military veterans, said: “Donald Trump has continually shown himself to have authoritarian tendencies, and this is just another worrisome example.”
Some have pointed out that such a parade could likely cost millions of Dollars. The Post added, “The cost of shipping Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware to Washington could run in the millions, and military officials said it was unclear how they would pay for it.” Thomas Crosson, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said, “We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details. We will share more information throughout the planning process.”
Our assessment is that a military parade from the United States is likely to attract divisive reaction domestically as well as internationally. The last time a major military parade was held in the nation was towards the end of the Cold War. The question on everyone’s mind will be the intent-- whether this parade is a celebration of the veterans who fight wars or a flagrant display of military might.