President Trump’s wish for a military parade in Washington on Veterans Day has been granted.
But it won’t resemble the Bastille Day celebration in France that Trump had leaned on for inspiration. To minimize damage to Washington’s streets, the parade will include only wheeled vehicles — and not the heavy military vehicles, like tanks, that line the streets of Paris on Bastille Day, according to a Pentagon memo released Friday and first obtained by CNN. The parade will also include a “heavy air component,” the memo said, with military planes flying overhead at the end of the parade.
Trump had directed the Pentagon to plan a parade for later this year, possibly on Veterans Day, to showcase the U.S. military’s strength. The idea came to him after attending the Bastille Day celebration last year with French President Emmanuel Macron.
His original vision for the parade, in which soldiers would march down boulevards alongside tanks, was expected to cost between $10 million and $30 million, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said last month.
Trump acknowledged the expense but insisted it would be “great for our country.”
“We’ll see if we can do it at a reasonable cost, and if we can’t, we won’t do it, but the generals would love to do it, I can tell you, and so would I,” Trump said while calling in to a Fox News show in late February.
The memo outlining the parade does not mention its estimated costs. It was sent from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s office to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who will organize the event, and offers guidance as to how the parade will be carried out.
It will correspond with Washington’s annual Veterans Day parade and focus on the contributions of U.S. veterans “from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 to today, with an emphasis on the price of freedom,” according to the memo. The parade route will run from the White House to the Capitol.