Military Parades in America? Really??

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Image credit: Simon Migaj – | License: CCO

When I was in grade school, back in the middle of the Cold War, I remember our teachers drawing a contrast between the parades we have in the United States and those put on by “Communist dictators.” Back then, the Soviet Union was the big enemy, and my teachers pointed out that the parades they put on were nothing more than displays of their military might.

I remember them describing how parades in Communist countries were dull events with nothing but lines of tanks, missiles, and goosestepping soldiers. Bleak parades for an even bleaker society.

They then contrasted that to the parades in the U.S.A., which were celebrations of beauty (Tournament of Roses), joy (Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), and–most of all–freedom (4th of July, Veterans Day, Memorial Day).

Because our society was free and strong, we didn’t need to wear our strength on our sleeves, as it were. Our parades could be true celebrations of our freedom.

I suppose that’s why I was so disappointed when I heard yesterday that President Trump wants the Pentagon to put on a parade that will display our military might.

Don’t get me wrong. I respect and support our military service men and women. My son served in Iraq and I’m proud of him. My father served in the Pacific Theater in WWII, and my brother and multiple other family members served in Viet Nam and later.

My issue is not with the military.

It is with a President who seems so enamored by power and strength that he feels the need to imitate dictators and strongmen and put on a grand military show. (BTW, a recent NPR article cites President Eisenhower as saying this kind of display would make us look weaker, not stronger.)

If Trump gets his way and has a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, I don’t believe it will be to honor the military. His actions as President thus far lead me to no other conclusion but that this will be to feed his ego.

And, if it happens, it will go a long way toward making the United States a bleaker place to live.

Author’s Note: I know that many of my evangelical brothers and sisters will disagree with me.
I respect your opinion and hope you will respect mine.
These reflections are my own. Feel free to add yours below, but please keep it civil.
I reserve the right to reject comments that are rude, vulgar, or combative.


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