Washington: A multimillion-dollar military parade planned by US President Donald Trump through the streets of Washington DC in November has been postponed until 2019, the Department of Defense has announced.
President Trump, also the commander-in-chief of the US military, got the idea of holding the grand parade while viewing France’s Bastille Day Parade in July 2017 along with French President Emmanuel Macron. He had said the US could “top it”.
The parade was originally conceived to mark the centenary of the end of World War I, on November 11.
“The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honour America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I,” said Col. Rob Manning.
“We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019,” he said.
The news about the parade’s postponement came amid reports that the event could cost about US$ 90 million – more than three times the original estimate.
The parade’s budget director had offered an estimate of between US$ 10 million and US$ 30 million when the White House announced its request in February. But a US official gave a new estimate of US$ 92 million, media reports said.
A memo when the plan was first mooted said no tanks would be used so as not to damage the roads of Washington.
The Pentagon said the military would march from the White House to the Capitol, and the parade would feature a “heavy air component at the end”.
The focus was to be on the work of US military veterans through the ages, starting with the American Revolutionary War.
The US had a military parade in 1991 following the end of its successful campaign to force Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s troops out of Kuwait.
Meanwhile, The American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organisation, reacted to reports that the parade could cost tens of millions more than originally expected by saying the money would be better spent in other ways.
“The American Legion appreciates that our President wants to show in a dramatic fashion our nation’s support for our troops,” American Legion national commander Denise Rohan said in a statement.
“However, until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible,” Rohan said.