It’s been almost three decades since the U.S. hosted a proper military parade, and Donald Trump thinks that’s quite long enough. The president has asked the Pentagon to plan a parade to show off America’s armed forces and, according to the Washington Post, it looks like they’re going to do it.
Officials are already following the president’s marching orders. “We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details. We will share more information throughout the planning process,” Defense Department spokesman Thomas Crosson said in a statement.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed Trump’s request in a statement on Tuesday. "President Trump is incredibly supportive of America's great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe," she said. "He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation."
Trump attended France’s Bastille Day last year, and has since expressed his desire to have a military display like theirs. The dream started to become a reality when he told top generals in the Pentagon’s think tank, a room reserved for top-secret convos, that he wanted a big military party. “The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” an anonymous military official told the Post. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
Trump doesn’t just want a parade like France’s, he wants one that’s even bigger. “It was two hours on the button and it was military might and, I think, a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France," Trump said in September, two months after the Bastille celebration. “We're going to have to try to top it.”
But this metaphorical dick-measuring contest isn’t going to come cheap. The cost of shipping all the military supplies to Washington will run into the millions. As Buzzfeed points out, past military parades were used to signal a victory, but the U.S. is still trudging along in the Afghanistan war, the longest in the country’s history. The last parade, organized by George H.W. Bush, celebrated the end of the Gulf War in 1991 and cost a staggering $12 million.