Donald Trump has been thinking for months about planning an elaborate military parade, the Washington Post reported yesterday (paywall). Impressed by France’s century-old tradition of the Bastille Day parade, which he witnessed last year, Trump has asked the Department of Defense to plan one of their own.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that “[Trump] has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
It hasn’t been clear what such a parade would commemorate, other than a broad appreciation for the military. The Bastille Day parade in France dates back to the 19th century and is part of the country’s commemoration of the French Revolution. It’s also not just about France, as the French military frequently shares the stage with other nation’s service members. As the Post reports:
What Trump may have missed while watching the Paris parade last July was that its organizers have frequently invited foreign troops—from Morocco and India to the United States, Britain and Germany—to march alongside French soldiers or to even lead the procession.
Nearly every US city and town has some sort of Veterans’ Day celebration. But the last time a US president oversaw an official military parade through the nation’s capital was in 1991, when George HW Bush hosted the “National Victory Celebration” parade to honor those who served in the Gulf War. Then, victory meant pushing Iraqi forces from Kuwait back into Iraq, where US forces would invade 12 years later, and where some are still stationed today.
Here’s what it looked like: