President Donald Trump wants a grand military parade to showcase America’s military might.
“The president wants to do something that highlights the service and sacrifice of the military and have a unifying moment for the country,” an administration official told The Washington Post.
So far, so good.
But reports that the president wants to see tanks and other military hardware rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue, emulating a French Bastille Day parade he saw last summer, are somewhat disturbing, if true.
This form of saber-rattling would do nothing to unify the country at this moment in history. And the cost of such a display would provide bad optics at a time when the military is begging the American people for more money.
More, with at least half the country worried about the authoritarian bent of this administration, the idea of President Trump atop a reviewing stand, a la North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, as instruments of America’s might roll by would likely engender as much protest as applause.
But here’s an idea the entire country could rally behind: How about a grand parade that honors combat veterans who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria since Sept. 11, 2001?
That would put the focus of such a parade exactly where it belongs: On the men and women who have rushed to the defense of our country. It could also include the so-called Dreamers — the undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children — who have served on the battlefield for their adopted nation.
There are some who see this grand parade as an opportunity to show adversaries, by way of tanks and planes and missiles, that America remains strong, even if readiness and military shortfalls dominate news cycles at home.
Our adversaries need no such reminders.
Instead, let’s honor our veterans, the real strength behind American principles and American resolve.