Yes, throw a parade

It’s not obvious when it became untoward or dangerous for the U.S. to hold military parades. Are we supposed to believe that the integrity of American character has depended on having no military parades since 1991, when there were big honking ones in Washington and New York to celebrate the end of the Gulf War?

In Washington, Patriot missiles, M270 multiple launch rocket systems, and M109 self-propelled howitzers appeared on the parade route, and a freakin’ Harrier jump jet landed on the Mall. In New York, they dragged an A-7 Crusader attack jet down the Canyon of Heroes. The republic survived.

The unsatisfactory outcomes of the Vietnam and Korean Wars meant we didn’t have parades to mark those conflicts (we should have). But it didn’t occur to anyone that it was inappropriate or undemocratic to display military hardware. During World War II, there were big military parades in New York City, and state-of-the-art self-propelled howitzers drove by the New York Public Library with no one getting the vapors.