Trump wants to bring back a tradition we haven’t seen since the Gulf War

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:

Bush At Tomb Of Unknowns 1991
President George Bush lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, June 8, 1991, in memory of America’s war dead. The wreath-laying was a solemn prelude to a Persian Gulf War victory celebration. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
General Norman Schwarzkopf and President Bush watch the National Victory Parade in Washington on June 8, 1991 (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
General Norman Schwarzkopf and U.S. Pesident Bush salute troops passing<br />the presidential reviewing stand. (Reuters/Rick Wilking)
Gulf War 1991  Victory Celebration  USA
Soldiers of the allied coalition carry their national flags past the reviewing stand and President Bush in Washington on Saturday, June 8, 1991 during the National Victory Parade. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Gulf War 1991  Victory Celebration  USA
Troops march on the Memorial Bridge across the Potomac River. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
The United States celebrate their victory over Iraq in the Gulf War with the biggest military parade since World War II. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
Troops march over the Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
Gulf War 1991  Victory Celebration  USA
Marine Capt. John Knight, from Fort Wayne, Ind., stationed at Cherry Point, N.C., with the 2nd Marine Division, right, enjoys the picnic for the troops on the Ellipse in Washington on June 8, 1991, with his nephew, Steven Smith, 6, from Laurel, Md. (AP Photo/Bob Strong)
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