A Military Parade?

I have a divided mind on this. On the one hand, as J. R. Salzman rightly points out, the main effect on the military will be having to show up at 0300 having spent a week polishing and detailing their tanks. They aren't going to appreciate the event, so it's an odd way to honor them. They'll do it, of course, because they were ordered to do it. But why impose a time-consuming and expensive detail on them that doesn't add to their war-fighting prowess?

On the other hand, I have an idea that would make it really worth doing. I would love to see the military get together with Rolling Thunder and do a combined current-service parade with veteran riders on either end of it. It would show the way that America's military serves as a thread that ties together generations, and helps to bind together our whole society.

It would still be expensive, but the detail might be counter-balanced by the opportunity to meet veterans from earlier conflicts and learn each other's stories. I think the current service personnel would value that, and would certainly benefit from the ties it would build. At the same time, such a display would make an important point about the real, deep value of military service to American civic life.

UPDATE: Sen. Rand Paul has an alternative suggestion: let's bring the troops home from Afghanistan and hold a victory parade for them.

9 comments:

E Hines said...

I propose an additional fillip, and expense. In addition to the soldiers and tanks, have one each B-1, B-2, and B-52 overfly the parade along its route and at the high point of the parade, with the flights to occur at 300ft AGL. Follow that with 4-ships each of A-10s, F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, AV-8Bs, F-22s, and F-35s at 100ft AGL. Obviously, the overflight altitudes would need to be adjusted according to building height and separation along the parade route.

That way, our air forces can be seen closely and easily, too, with the generations of aircraft on full display.

The point about the burden on the paraders is valid, but I think the nation needs such a display on occasion. Just not annually.

Eric Hines

Krag said...

As opposed to drill, which I believe is immensely valuable, parade is usually a soul crushing morale killer. Every two years a unit goes through a change of command ceremony with every swinging, uh, member, on parade. At least at the end of a change of command ceremony the unit would have a picnic and pig roast.

If Trump does make the military put on a massive dog-and-pony show, there better be one hell of a post-parade bbq afterwards. Those guys will have earned it. I'm really hoping Generals Mattis, Kelly, and Dunford will properly educate the president on the folly of this idea, however.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I don't think we know what the effect would be on national morale, and service morale. If the effect on the former were good, I think the latter would feel better about the idea over time. Emotion is not predictable. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall was hated by those in the upper military and those who first saw it, because it appeared to sink into the ground pointlessly and was ugly. There are Vietnam vets who would protect it with their lives at this point.

I would caution against it, I would not vote the money for it, I would make speeches against it. But y'know, this is exactly the sort of thing that Donald Trump gets right about the emotions of America that everyone else gets wrong. I might be opposed, but give in easy and wait and see. It might be an outpouring of love the military only vaguely knew it had and would be gratified tom see. And if it's a shallow love, so much the better to get it all assembled into one great hill at one time.

You want an added bonus? Don't hold it in DC. Hold it in a liberal city that went 90-10 against Trump so that they see. San Francisco. Portland. Minneapolis-St Paul. Boston. Philadelphia.

E Hines said...

Boston would have a nice symmetry as a venue.

Eric Hines

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ Grim - check out James the Lesser's post at "I Don't Know, But..." http://www.historynet.com/russo-japanese-war-japans-first-big-surprise.htm
Your sort of thing.

Grim said...

Thank you. You're right -- that's exactly the kind of approach to history I like to see.

douglas said...

I was thinking give the troops the day off and have a parade of NGOs and charities that are in support of the troops. They can use the exposure to fundraise, which helps the troops, and the troops can watch the parade instead of get ready for it.

I like the Rolling Thunder aspect, though.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ douglas - or after the military parade, the next weekend there can be a parade of those NGO's and charities that don't support the military. Including bands. I think the comparison would be revealing.

jaed said...

Mmmm... I realize you're not entirely serious, but I don't like the idea. It's too much "military versus anti-military", and the military should support and be supported by all of us. (I realize this isn't always the case by any means—at least the second part—but I don't see much point in pointing that up so bluntly, because it stands to make it worse.)