As has now been widely reported, in a meeting last month, President Trump told high-ranking military officials that he wanted a military parade. But over history the United States has generally left military parades as a chest-thumping show of force to less self-assured despots—and Russia. The last time the United States held a national, tanks-in-the-streets military parade was over 25 years ago, in 1991, to celebrate the end of the Gulf War. And before that, large military parades hadn’t been seen since the early ’60s, when Cold War tensions led Kennedy and Eisenhower to flex some ballistic muscle during their inauguration parades.
S0, as we now face Trump’s request, here’s a quick look at what national military parades have been like over the years in the US, when troops came home from World War I and II and after Operation Desert Storm—and when the parades were not just an exercise in ego stroking.