POTUS Parade: Maybe, it's not so crazy?

Phil Briggs
February 07, 2018 - 5:26 pm

(Dept. of Defense photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro/Released)


From the moment the Washington Post reported that President Trump told military leaders "I want a parade, like the one in France," social media erupted with American pride, sarcasm, naysayers and name calling.

So, I asked a few vets "What do you think about having a parade to show support for the military?"

A retired Navy veteran from Norfolk, VA (who asked not to be identified) said, "I think it’s a waste of money and resources. It’s just Trump wanting to wag his ___! at N. Korea, saying “look how much bigger mine is than yours.” There's so many other issues that need to be addressed. His ego is not one of them. I’d really like to know if you’ve talked to anyone who thinks it’s a good idea. It just reeks of Soviet posturing."

John Mitchell, Columbia, MD, a US Army veteran who served in Vietnam 1968-69  said, "I think a parade is fine for the country. But, for my era it's a waste of time. They already had their chance, and they blew it." Considering the era of Mitchell's service, his answer is not a total suprise. So, when asked, "Shouldn't we try to correct that mistake? Mitchell replied, "They can try, but it's lke when people say thank you for your service, I always feel like, if you weren't there ... you wouldn't understand. Either way, It's not something I want to participate in."

But the comments of Navy Veteran, Dylan Guggenmos, Costa Mesa, CA, may give the Vietnam era vets hope and address the feeling that a parade is more than merely pointless chest pounding. "I'm all for national pride. You might think it (parade) is just flexing, or waving around your d*** but I think it could be good for this country."

Guggenmos went on to explain how previous generations of his family escaped from Cuba, to make a better life here. "They did it the right way, filling out the papers, often waiting for years to come here and eventually becoming citizens ...basically, realizing the American dream. And they gave that American pride to us. So much so, that I couldn't wait to serve in the Navy."

He went on to explain how this perspective may be getting lost. "I know how I feel about this country, and it's like there's a generation of entitlement now.  They never had to go through #%#! like my grandparents, so they don't feel how it's really important to be like, hey I really freakin' love this country! It's like when I was in school we were taught we're a melting pot, or a salad ... full of different things; cucumbers, tomato, lettuce.  But it's like they're so interested in being a mix of other things, they forget, that together, we're still a salad .. and that's national pride."

He colorfully explained in a few words, what could take others hours to say and began with a disclaimer of sorts, "Forgive me for not being politically correct (I always say that even though I don't really care if you forgive me) but, look the path we're on, if we're gonna be the big f****** bear then we have to act like one. Americans should be Americans, and we should not apologize for wanting to show that we're bad asses, and won't back down."

Intrigued, I asked him, "So what about those men and women in the service, you think they want to march around, just so we look like badasses?"

"I'm totally glad you said it like that," Guggenmos sighed. "You're right. I don't think we need to look all North Korean and s****, marching troops and missiles down the street.  I think there's a right way to do it.  Do you know how many band groups, choir groups, Drill, Rifle Groups, Navy League, ROTC kids in America would love to come to DC and be involved in something like that? I think it would be worth it. And we could have reps from each branch of the service, for kids to see and get excited about."

And it's with that comment, it started to make sense.  

I could suddenly see this parade merge with Rolling Thunder- and thousands of Harley's (many of whom are Veterans) roaring through DC. Competition Drill groups performing alongside ROTC Youth; Music stars from Rap, Rock, Country and Pop singing salutes in front of a few pieces of military hardware.  And kids would be inspired by seeing heroes from pro ballers to spec warriors. 

Would the entire spectacle seem more like a recruitment day, rather than the President's desire for our military might to be whipped out for all to see? Yes. 

But in a world that will continue to test our commitment to fighting terrorism, maybe this could become a helpful reminder, that as a nation we are indivisible. Guggenmos summed up a national parade best by saying it would be a day that proves the old adage, "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Well, I think if we had a national event we would show the world that there's a lot fight left in us." 


Want to get more connected to the stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Follow Phil Briggs, @philbriggsVet