CNN got hold of a Pentagon planning memo for Trump’s military parade. It looks like this is going to happen later this year, but according to the document there will not be Abrams tanks rolling through Washington, DC. There will, however, be an air component to the parade.
The memo says the parade will integrate with the annual DC Veterans Day parade and focus on the contributions of US veterans from the Revolutionary War to today “with an emphasis on the price of freedom.”
The parade will “include wheeled vehicles only, no tanks,” the memo said, adding that “consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure.”
It will, however, involve “a heavy air component” with military aircraft flying overhead at the end of parade, including older aircraft “as available,” the memo said.
The planned route stretches from the White House to the Capitol. Trump would be seated in a reviewing stand surrounded by veterans and Medal of Honor winners. The president proposed the idea after attending the Bastille Day parade in France. Here’s a clip of him saluting a contingent of U.S. troops in that parade:
One of the concerns raised about this idea, including inside the Pentagon, is the potential cost. From CNN:
There are also concerns over the cost of the event, and a second defense official tells CNN that the Pentagon is considering seeking out private donations to offset some of the non-military costs of the event. The donations could not cover military salaries or the cost of moving equipment but they could be used to pay for other aspects of the parade.
There are no firm cost estimates until President Trump orders the military to stage a specific event, but very preliminary estimates suggest the cost could run between $3 million and $50 million, the first official said, emphasizing that nothing is certain at this point. There is no money currently allocated for a parade in the defense budget. Budget director Mick Mulvaney said Wednesday that he has seen estimates that a military parade could cost $10 million to $30 million.
Hopefully, the fact that tanks and other heavy vehicles will not be involved will keep the cost toward the lower end of that range.
I confess to being initially lukewarm about this plan. Not because I have any disrespect for the military. On the contrary, my concern was mostly of the ‘we got it, we don’t need to flaunt it’ variety. But I have to admit I’m warming up to this a little. I suspect a lot of people will find the parade appealing and if the spectacle reminds them we’re very lucky to have the system we have and to have the people protecting us that we have, that all seems like it could be a good thing.