President Trump has been busy lately—travelling, hosting “Vlad,” touring Europe, perhaps flummoxing Queen Elizabeth by walking ahead of her for a couple of steps, nominating a Supreme Court Justice, pretty much creating a stir at home and abroad. Business as usual, I’m jes’ sayin’. He wants to upgrade the appearance of Air Force One, and one snarky artist has implied that Air Force One is going to sport a picture of the Donald forward near the cockpit. That’s unlikely, as the 3.9 billion dollar contract awarded to Boeing for two new planes is not due to be completed until 2024, which as well after the last possible moment that he could still be in office.
Hysterical calls for “an intervention” have been made on the House floor, accusations of treason and all manner of malfeasance have been levied everywhere from Colbert to Congress. System normal, except that POTUS came back from Paris with an idea that I don’t ever remember seeing in my lifetime: an uber-grand military parade. Now, it’s not that we have never had them. It used to be rather common for a president to be present and review a military parade on the 4th of July. Jefferson, Madison, Van Buren, and Polk all were present for military parades.
They were common after WWII, and Ike had one as part of his Inauguration celebration. JFK had one as well. Clearly during Vietnam the mood of the country was that it “wasn’t in the mood,” and Gerald Ford did not call for one due to the controversy in the country over the war. Kinda like today…Everyone knows that ‘Nam vets were not greeted with a parade when they came home, but still several vowed to themselves that if there were ever another shooting war as well as a parade, they’d show up even if they were the only ones. In 1991, after the 1st Gulf War, Stealth fighter planes flew overhead while 8,000 troops marched down Constitution Avenue, and ‘Nam vets showed up in droves.
The President has made it clear that in November, he wants us to have a military parade in honor of the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, and people are going nuts. At first, I thought that this would not be a great use of our money, but then I remembered a legendary Marine Colonel named Jack du Bois, who served as the dean of the theological school I attended during the ‘70s, and retired into the position where he could provide much-needed leadership for young potential theologians. Jack understood the value of parades, and I had forgotten. Jack also never got to have a parade, and he deserved one.
Apparently it is going to cost around 12 million dollars for the parade that is going to be held in Washington DC, on November 10, with others to be held on November 11, Veterans Day. And, I am going to go on record that I think that it is a good use of our tax dollars. Why? Because there is no price tag that can be put on restoring our confidence in the ability of our troops to protect and defend us, and to give the ‘Nam vets the parade they so richly deserve at last.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner