President Trump wants a military parade through Washington, D.C., and he may get it, but not everyone is in favor. According to National Public Radio, “The Pentagon says a military parade requested by President Trump will likely take place in Washington on Veterans Day to honor those who have served in the military from the Revolutionary War through today.” To minimize damage to the city, it is likely that displays such as tanks will be kept to a minimum.
Trump’s initial suggestion for a military parade occurred after witnessing the Bastille Day celebration on the Champs-Élysées in Paris last year. The President of the United States attended the July 14th celebration in France as an invited foreign guest. This gesture was to mark the 100th anniversary of U.S. involvement in World War I.
The French hold an annual Bastille Day parade to commemorate the anniversary of the July 14, 1789 Storming of the Bastille, a turning point of the French Revolution. It is the oldest and largest military parade in Europe. Each year, French officials and foreign dignitaries attend the national celebration. The popular event, complete with military bands, marching soldiers, motorized and armored troops, tanks, parachute displays and more, is broadcast live on television.
At Trump’s urging, the Pentagon has been working on ideas to set the plan in motion for a U.S. military parade of a similar nature to the one in France, though a good number of American citizens stand in opposition. Main reasons for disapproval include feeling it’s a waste of money that could run in the millions, that it’s too difficult to carry out, and that the parade may easily be misinterpreted by other countries as an unnecessary show of force or provocation.
Those who oppose a U.S. military parade share concerns that a comparison may be drawn between North Korea’s military parade and America’s. North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, uses military parades to gain the world’s attention. The Korean People’s Army is one of the largest military institutions of the world, though some of its military’s conventional capabilities are limited. Kim uses the parade as propaganda to show off his capabilities as a leader and to present his army as a world-class military superpower. Russia and China also hold military parades that, like North Korea’s, are associated with the authoritarian powers of their countries.
Recent rumors suggest the date of the parade could be moved due to a potential scheduling conflict for President Trump. According to CNBC, “Trump is expected to attend a summit in Paris on November 11 with 79 other world leaders. So it is unclear whether Trump will participate in the parade.” The parade is important to our President. Trump is pushing for a U.S. grand military parade to share pride in our nation’s armed forces, to show support for the sacrifices our military makes, and to bring our country together. He explains that any military parade we have will follow the example set by France. It will not be a straight show of force; it will truly celebrate those who serve and make us come together as one proud nation.