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Trump tells Pentagon to plan military parade

President Donald Trump has asked for a military parade in Washington, and the Pentagon is reviewing potential dates. CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

Posted: Feb 8, 2018 2:19 AM
Updated: Feb 8, 2018 2:19 AM

"I want a parade like the one in France," President Donald Trump reportedly said to a military official, who passed that information on to The Washington Post.

Trump had been the guest of French President Emmanuel Macron on Bastille Day in July 2017, and after attending the parade he enthusiastically exclaimed that it was "one of the greatest parades" he'd ever seen. And so, he wanted to preside over an equally spectacular one in Washington -- not unlike a 7-year-old who wants his birthday party to be as big and elaborate as his friend's. It would cost millions of dollars in citizens' hard-earned tax money (money that could go instead to veterans' hospitals), and military officials said they were unsure how to pay for it.

And yet, it wouldn't be the first grand military parade in Washington. There was one in January 1941, for example, after Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration to an unprecedented third term in office. That past spring all the European democracies, with the exception of Great Britain, had fallen to the relentless Nazi forces, and in Asia, Japan had extended its reach into China.

It was a year before Pearl Harbor, and the nation was not yet at war, but FDR knew he would have to educate Americans and convince them and Congress that the nation must nevertheless be prepared and mobilized for war. He decided a military parade would be a dramatic display of the nation's willingness to fight to preserve its way of life and its determination to protect Great Britain from the Nazi onslaught.

And so, after his inaugural address, a grand military parade took place.

First came a platoon of Washington motorcycle police, and behind them rode Gen. George C. Marshall, the Army chief of staff, on horseback. Then came military bands, units from the Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, along with West Point cadets and Annapolis midshipmen. They were followed by scout cars, motorcycles, trucks with anti-tank guns, anti-aircraft guns, field guns and cannons. Military planes soared in formation overhead.

But more enduring and less expensive was FDR's brief inaugural address before that military extravaganza. In his speech, he explained that a nation was like a person; it had a physical, intellectual and spiritual life. Its body must be clothed, fed and housed and its mind kept informed and alert. But a nation, "like a person," he said, "has something deeper, something more permanent, something larger than the sum of all its parts." No single word could name it, "and yet we all understand what it is."

For the United States it was something he called "the democratic aspiration," a living faith, a quasi-divine purpose in national life, an ongoing quest for freedom, justice, equality, happiness. If that "spirit of America" were killed, "even though the nation's body and mind, constricted in an alien world, lived on, the America we know would have perished."

He believed that in the months and years ahead, under the threat posed by the Axis powers, Americans would need to make sacrifices to keep the spirit of America alive. They would also need to practice lives of kindness and generosity that included a sense of responsibility for others -- for the neighbors they knew as well as for the people they didn't know.

It was an important and profound speech, although there was no memorable catch phrase like "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" that he famously declared in his first inaugural address in the bleak winter of 1933.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves if we risk losing that "spirit" of America under President Trump. A military parade orchestrated merely to entertain a childish president is a futile and meaningless spectacle, unless it is accompanied by a real understanding and acknowledgment of America's vital military, moral and humanitarian role in the rest of the world.

This was the kind of essential role that America played when it became the arsenal of democracy in World War II and when, after the war, it created the Marshall Plan to restore health, democracy and prosperity to a war-ravaged Europe -- the opposite of the nativist, nationalist, isolationist and counterproductive mentality of "America First."

Name-calling, rash threats and empty displays of military prowess are no substitute for the compassion, generosity, decency and dignity that have kept alive for almost 2½ centuries the precious quasi-divine purpose of our nation. In his first inaugural address in 1789, George Washington memorably said, "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government are staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."

America is still an ongoing experiment -- let us work to keep that "sacred fire" and the moral and ethical "democratic aspiration" alive.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
Clark16988222
Madison16899378
Vigo15562272
Monroe14186190
LaPorte13961235
Delaware13613215
Howard13531258
Kosciusko11150134
Hancock10534159
Warrick10431174
Bartholomew10233166
Floyd10099202
Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
Boone8231109
Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
Dearborn734186
Noble7208100
Marshall7168127
Cass7060117
Lawrence6803150
Jackson638980
Shelby6386106
Gibson5999105
Harrison587984
Huntington586490
Montgomery5663101
DeKalb555691
Knox532999
Miami523183
Clinton522464
Putnam519067
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Steuben480267
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Jefferson456091
Ripley439074
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Scott389563
White383457
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Greene375589
Wells375183
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Posey351841
Jennings341756
Washington324046
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Crawford140818
Benton138316
Newton138141
Brown130646
Martin124416
Switzerland122310
Warren112616
Union92211
Ohio75811
Unassigned0461

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1319265

Reported Deaths: 21265
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1480641537
Cuyahoga1311202313
Hamilton948871307
Montgomery647451122
Summit548531041
Lucas49502853
Butler45993649
Stark39954963
Lorain30438525
Warren29170326
Mahoning25988629
Clermont24726278
Lake24088411
Delaware21722140
Licking19822239
Fairfield19780218
Greene19671266
Medina19208285
Trumbull19195506
Clark17188321
Portage15585224
Richland15540228
Wood15187208
Allen13654254
Miami13283244
Muskingum11821148
Wayne11448234
Columbiana11100239
Tuscarawas10388264
Marion10273144
Pickaway10162128
Scioto9766124
Erie9479170
Ross8979172
Lawrence8225116
Hancock8105140
Ashtabula8083184
Geauga7976155
Belmont7791183
Jefferson7093168
Huron7087125
Union703549
Washington6823116
Athens666163
Sandusky6608132
Darke6394135
Knox6308120
Seneca6113135
Auglaize569888
Ashland5631110
Shelby555799
Mercer545188
Brown533067
Defiance5278100
Madison527368
Crawford5148113
Highland514876
Fulton508781
Clinton505379
Logan494582
Preble4788110
Putnam4733106
Guernsey439057
Williams437281
Champaign426463
Ottawa425783
Perry414051
Jackson402259
Pike367140
Morrow359149
Fayette353951
Coshocton345064
Hardin341868
Adams338864
Gallia329254
Holmes3148107
Henry312668
Van Wert299269
Hocking280467
Wyandot271858
Carroll250451
Paulding231742
Meigs197842
Monroe178649
Noble160340
Morgan153528
Harrison145740
Vinton130217
Unassigned05
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