Initial planning for the military parade requested by President Donald Trump is now underway, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford has confirmed.
It is expected that the Army Military District of Washington, which oversees some military activities in the city, will be designated to coordinate parade planning, according to a senior defense official.
One option being considered is to hold the parade in November in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I on November 11, 1918, the official said.
Military planners will now look not only at dates and locations for the parade, but also costs, logistics and whether it is feasible to hold a parade displaying large weaponry such as tanks on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said Tuesday that Trump asked for the military parade, adding that the planning process was in its “infancy.”
According to The Washington Post, which first reported that Trump asked top brass at the Pentagon for a military parade, the President was inspired by France’s Bastille Day celebration.
Trump was French President Emmanuel Macron’s guest on Bastille Day last year, and later called the French military parade he witnessed “one of the greatest parades” he had ever seen.
Military parades, while unusual, are not unprecedented in the US, though there hasn’t been a major one in Washington since 1991 to celebrate victory in the Gulf War. That display, which drew roughly 200,000 attendees, featured various military units marching, Navy and Marine bands performing, and jets and helicopters flying over the crowd.
Some congressional Democrats have rebuked the idea of a military parade, arguing such a display would waste time and money and provide scant value to the American people.
“We have a Napoleon in the making here,” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, said on CNN Tuesday.
No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer worried the rest of the world could perceive the demonstration as “jingoist” or “saber-rattling.”
“We want to be peacemakers, not warmakers,” the Maryland Democrat told CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday.