Why Doesn’t The US Have Military Parades?

Why Doesn’t The US Have Military Parades

A military parade consists of the arrangement of soldiers in a manner that restricts their movement. It includes acts of maneuvering like drilling or marching. Military parades are mainly ceremonial activities. Before now, and till the 19th-century, soldiers engaged in armed conflicts and wars while in formation.

So, why doesn’t the US have military parades?

A military parade is a ceremony where the military display their armory in an organized formation showcasing their uniforms, drills, and some of their sophisticated weapons. Before this time, the US had lots of military parades. However, it no longer has such military parades. The reason for that is that there are no more wars that require the US to carry out military parades.

Continue reading for more information on this topic!

The Modalities Involved In A Military Parade

Some of the things that one could see during military parades are; drills, march pass, fireworks, procession, parade, musical displays with the drumsticks and the rest, different rounds of shooting, etc.

The Essence Of Military Parade

There is always a reason for military parades. Some of the reasons are the celebration of those who are brave and courageous enough to fight for their country, the celebration of victory from war, the celebration of fallen and living heroes, and celebration of freedom anniversaries.

Other reasons for a military parade could be the celebration to mark the swearing or inauguration of a new government. It could also be to showcase to the public the men and women in uniform and support the military with a public show of respect and positivity.

The above reasons were the ones originally the intentions and purpose behind the planning and organization of military parades. However, there are some other reasons, which are prevalent in this age of so many wars and fighting. Thus, military parades became useful for the display of military splendor, display of military might, flexing of military muscles, and to warn adversaries.

The Advantages Of Military Parades

The benefits of organizing military shows are enormous. It boosts the confidence of the citizens that in the event of war, the government can defend them. It encourages those that have an interest in the military to join because they are sure that the weapons they need are available.

It also discourages other nations from going to war with you because they know your military might and would not want to be crushed by you. The family of those who gave themselves patriotically can quickly raise their head and enjoy the honor given to the fallen heroes knowing that the labor of their loved ones was not in vain.

The Disadvantages Of Military Parades

Despite the enormous advantages of military parades, there are still negative aspects to it that we must examine. One of the benefits is that it gives your enemy the knowledge of what you possess, and they might want to get more equipped than you in case of war or reprisal attack. It also exposes you to moles or traitors

The History Of US Military Parade

It is essential to note that the US once had eras, where they carried out massive military parades. It is not as if they were never involved in military parades before this time. Let us take a look at when the US participated in Military parades.

In 1953, there was an inaugural parade for President Dwight Eisenhower. About 22,000 military service members got involved in this parade, and a cannon that can fire a nuclear warhead was also in display. It was the most elaborate inaugural pageant ever held in the history of the USA.

In 1919, the year preceding World War 1 that began in 1914 and ended in 1918, the US Marines led by General John J. Pershing marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City. There were about 25,000 arrayed in their full battle attires who took part in the parade, and they did it twice within a week.

There was the 1942 Army Day Parade, which saw more than thirty thousand men and women March down Fifth Avenue in New York City. It received the tag as the first significant military display during the war (WWII). It lasted for about eleven hours.

There were also victory parades that celebrated the end of the war, and the 82nd Airborne Division under General James M. Gavin performed an incredible display also down the same Fifth Avenue in New York City where the parade held during the war.

The 1961 parade for the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy witnessed sailors and soldiers aboard navy boats with dozens of missiles towed along Pennsylvania Avenue. Also, on March 24th and 25th of 1865, there was the parade for the grand review of the Armies. The parade organized by President Andrew Johnson was to mark the end of the civil war hostilities and to review the troops formally.

In 1991, there was a victory parade to celebrate the end of the Persian Gulf War. On display were Stealth Fighters planes, which passed overhead of about 200,000 people and tanks. The Patriot missiles stole the ground display. Later on, fireworks were on display, which now attracted extra 600,000 persons making it a total of nothing less than 800,000 spectators. More than 8,000 troops participated in this particular parade. They marched down the Constitution Avenue of Washington, DC.

Days Specifically Fixed For A Military Parade In The US According To History

According to history, there were some of the specific days commemorated by the US military with a ceremony. These days are the veteran’s day that celebrates the soldiers who fought in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fourth of July to celebrate the day the USA had independence, and the memorial day fixed for every last Monday of May, which is to mark the memorial of the nation’s national unity.

Why Did Military Parades Stop In The US?

From the history of military parade in the US, the primary reason that would come to mind for stopping military parade in the US is that there are no more wars. Most of the military shows that took place were to mark victories from battles or the end of a fight. Since there are no more World War or civil wars that soldiers have to engage in combat with the soldiers of any enemy state, the need for a review of the Armies became extinct.

Furthermore, President Donald Trump had a setback with his proposed fourth of July military parade as a celebration in which all Americans can show their appreciation to the men and women in uniform. It is safe to say from the reasons of those who opposed it that another reason for the US not having a military parade is cost.

The people believe that the military parade takes a lot of money and resources to organize and execute. Therefore, it would be a waste of the nation’s resources to budget for and complete such a project. Also, military parades mostly hold in totalitarian or dictatorship countries. Since the US is a democratic State and need not oppress its citizens, there is no need for such parades.

They believe that since the US is the highest or top the rank of World power; it need not show others that it is dominant by the display of its military strength. There is no need to mimic other countries. The fact that others are doing it does not mean the US must do it.

State Parades

One should note that all of the above reasons affect large or national military parades. There is evidence of a small display of the armory of the US in different States. For example, in 2017, there was a presidential inaugural parade in Washington, DC, for President Donald Trump.

Also, on the 4th of July 2019, President Donald Trump marked the American Independence Day tagged Salute to America, which people attended amidst the rains. At the event, there was a display of the military tanks patrolling in the Washington DC, the US Navy flight demonstration, also known as the blue angels, flew over Lincoln memorial.

There was a performance under the rain by a marching band. The performance was near a Bradley fighting vehicle. Also, they were a show by the US of its military power or armory when it displayed about 52 pilotless fighters jets in response to a threat from another country.


Flowing from the earlier discussion, we can, therefore, conclude that, although the US had military parades in time past, they do not have it anymore. The reasons are that it is costly, they are the World power who need not prove its military strength, they operate a democratic system of government, and the wars are over. These are why the US doesn’t have military parades.

The national celebrations that had military parades stopped after 1991. The American state no longer saw the need to waste such a tremendous amount of tax payer’s money to continue to carry out these parades that were so expensive.

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