At President Donald Trump’s urging, the Pentagon is looking at dates for a possible military parade in Washington that could take place in November, a spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.
The Washington Post first reported Tuesday that Trump expressed his desire for a military parade at a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top generals, and his desire was heard as a presidential directive. The paper cited two officials briefed on the planning.
“We are aware of the request and are looking at possible dates,” Charlie Summers, a Pentagon spokesman, told NBC News. He added that the process is in its “infancy” but cited Nov. 11 as a possible date.
A senior administration official told NBC News that Trump has “given the directive to begin the planning so the planning has begun.”
Trump was reportedly impressed by a military parade he witnessed in Paris to celebrate Bastille Day last year, which the president attended as a guest of French President Emmanuel Macron. The parade also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I in 1917.
“The president wants to do something that highlights the service and sacrifice of the military and have a unifying moment for the country,” an official quoted by the Washington Post said.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe. He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday.
Nov. 11 is Veterans Day in the United States, but is also celebrated as Armistice Day in other countries to remember the day fighting ended in World War I. The armistice was signed and fighting ceased at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, and the date this year marks the 100th anniversary.
Trump noted in September during an appearance with Macron at the United Nations how impressed he was with the Bastille Day celebration, and said “to a large extent, because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington, down Pennsylvania Avenue.”
President George H. W. Bush held a military parade in Washington on June 8, 1991, to mark victory in the Persian Gulf War. At the time it was called the biggest victory celebration in Washington since the end of World War II, with a crowd of around 200,000.
The Post reported that many details remain up in the air, but that Trump has said he would like it along Pennsylvania Avenue.
Trump also praised a military parade held by China. He said on Nov. 9 during a meeting with President Xi Jinping: “The hosting of the military parade this morning was magnificent, and the world was watching. I’ve already had people calling from all parts of the world. They were all watching. Nothing you can see is so beautiful.”
Not everyone was on board with the plan. The Twitter account of the Council of the District of Columbia quipped, “Tanks but No Tanks!”
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