Washington, D.C.— A memorandum for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued on March 8, confirms that a Veterans Day military parade requested by President Trump last month will be held in honor of U.S. military veterans and provides “initial guidance” for the planning of the parade.
“This parade will focus on the contributions of our veterans throughout our history of the U.S. Military, starting from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, to today, with an emphasis on the price of freedom,” the memo stated.
The memo included a list of “considerations provided by the Secretary of Defense” including plans to “highlight the evolution of women Veterans” and assurances that tanks would not be included in the event in an effort to “minimize damage to local infrastructure.” The D.C. Council had previously tweeted their objection “Tanks but No Tanks.”
The document goes on to note that Veteran and Medal of Honor recipients will surround the President in the Capitol reviewing area, and there will be a “heavy air component at the end of the parade.”
While the document doesn’t provide a cost estimate, last month the White House budget director gave a preliminary estimate to the House Budget Committee and said the parade could cost between $10 to $30 million.
Despite having the largest and most powerful military force in the history of humanity, military parades in the U.S. are rare, with the last taking place after the first Gulf War in 1991 at a price tag of roughly $12 million (not adjusted for inflation).
In early February, President Donald Trump told his generals to begin preparing for a military parade in Washington, D.C., reportedly inspired by the French Bastille Day parade he watched in Paris over the summer. Opponents criticized the idea of holding a military parade, likening it to militaristic displays in states such as Russia or China. Politico reported there was broad bipartisan pushback— with politicians on both sides of the aisle calling it a waste of money that would break with democratic traditions. A poll conducted by Military Times claimed that 88 percent of 100,000 respondents opposed the parade and “said the military has more important needs to address.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders refuted those notions, stating that Trump’s intention was to have “a celebration” of the military and that “President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe.”
The Trump administration has appointed numerous high-ranking military leaders into roles in the White House and cabinet, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.
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