US media are reporting that President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to stage a grand parade in Washington this year to celebrate US military strength and prowess.
The Washington Post was the first to break the story, saying that Trump, who campaigned on a theme of “Make America Great Again,” wants to hold an extensive military parade, replete with soldiers marching and armored vehicles – similar to military parades that have been held in China, Russia and North Korea.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reportedly confirmed the request on Tuesday, saying Trump wants the Pentagon to “explore a celebration” that will allow Americans to show appreciation for the military. No date has been set for the event.
The Associated Press noted that such “showy displays of raw military power” typically don’t occur in the US.
“US military members commonly participate in parades on the Fourth of July and other holidays to mark appreciation and remembrance of military veterans, but these typically do not include gaudy displays of military hardware,” AP reported.
The United States has previously held military parades to mark the end of wars, most recently in 1991 after the the Gulf War. There have been debates since then about staging a parade to honor Iraq war veterans, but it remains controversial whether or not to hold such a celebratory event while operations still continue in the region.
“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,” Colonel David Lapan, a spokesman for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, General Martin Dempsey, was quoted as saying in 2012.
More ostentatious displays of arms have also been a part of previous parades, as was the case with President John F Kennedy’s inauguration parade at the height of the Cold War.