A Uniquely American Parade
I really like parades. I think they bring people together for an opportunity to be with one another as a community. We have several notable parades celebrating Christmas, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July right here in Frederick County.
Parades have a knack of bringing people together, but only if the purpose is proper. All of Philadelphia seemed to have attended last week’s Super Bowl parade.
Recently The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump wanted a parade like the one he had seen during his visit to France last year. Almost instantly the president’s most venomous political detractors shifted their criticism into overdrive.
Some media talking heads compared President Trump’s wish for a parade to the fabled North Korean military’s annual forced-march parade. They drew comparisons to a parade that would never be complete without its forced clapping and forced smiles.
I was taken aback when I read earlier this week that some officials in Washington were rallying behind a bill called the P.A.R.A.D.E. Act. It was introduced by Rep. Mark Veasey (D., TX) Texas. The title P.A.R.A.D.E. stands for Preventing the Allocation of Resources for Absurd Defense Expenditures.
Representative Veasey’s office released a statement saying his bill was drafted "to prevent taxpayer funded resources to bring an authoritarian-inspired show-of-force to life." The estimated cost floated around Washington for the parade was in the ballpark of $12 million.
The sudden fiscal responsibility argument against any parade idea is a particularly hollow argument as far as expenditures. Price was no concern when President Obama and First Lady Michele Obama took separate planes with security to do separate television talk show appearances in California back in 2015. The estimated cost to taxpayers for that trip was $228,000 per hour of flight time just for Air Force One.
It is no secret that President Emmanuel Macron, of France, has accepted President Trump’s invitation to be the first guest at a Trump Whitehouse State Dinner. Macron pulled out all the stops last year when our president arrived in Paris. I do not think a state dinner for France is an occasion for a military parade. It’s just not part of our American culture.
What is a part of American Culture? Honoring historic milestones. This coming November, most of world’s nations especially those in Europe, and The United States will mark the end of World War I. At one time, this war was thought to be the war to end all wars. The conflict had waring nations on every continent of the globe.
The western front had opposing trenches stretched from the English Channel all the way to Switzerland. Yet still trenches continued past the Swiss border into the Italian Alps which formed the southern front. The Eastern front stretched from the Middle East to the Baltic Sea.
Why not honor the 100th anniversary of the war to end all wars with a parade that remembers this footnoted war before World War II? A total of 65 soldiers from Frederick County gave their lives in the conflict. The war saw 116,516 American soldiers dead and 204,002 who were wounded between April 2, 1917 and November 11, 1918.
World War I marked the beginning of America as a super power. This year on November 11th is the proper time, and Washington, D.C., is the proper place for a French styled American military parade. It should be a day of reflection to honor all our fallen heroes who fell in defense of the nation they gave their lives to defend.
I don’t think the world would consider a 100th Anniversary WW1 National Veterans Day Parade as an “authoritarian-inspired show-of-force.” It should be considered a uniquely American parade.