The White House announced a month ago that Trump had asked for a large-scale military parade, an unconventional call that immediately fueled comparisons with similar events in more autocratic countries.
“This parade will focus on the contributions of our veterans throughout the history of the US military, starting from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 to today, with an emphasis on the price of freedom,” said the memorandum for General Joe Dunford, who chairs the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Defense Department had earlier said it was planning for “around” that date, which is known in the United States as Veterans Day and in other countries as Remembrance Day marking the end of World War I.
Pentagon plans call for “wheeled vehicles only, no tanks,” as they would tear up city roads.
There would also be “a heavy air component at the end of the parade, to include older aircraft as available,” according to the memo.
The parade route will stretch roughly one mile (1.6 kilometers) from the White House to the Capitol, where Trump will review his troops surrounded by veterans and Medal of Honor recipients.
Female veterans will be highlighted, and marchers representing previous wars will wear period uniforms, including historical dress from the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
As planning continues, the memo gave no more details on the type of weaponry to be featured in the parade.
Trump, the military’s commander-in-chief, received deferments from service during the Vietnam War.
The last major parade in Washington was in 1991 after the Gulf War, when missiles and tanks moved through the streets of the capital.
Since taking office, Trump has frequently touted his support for the US military and placed high-ranking generals in top White House and cabinet posts.
The idea for a parade appears to have been rekindled when the president visited Paris for Bastille Day in July and made no secret of his awe for the pomp and ceremony of the occasion.
Military parades are also a highlight of the calendar in Moscow and Pyongyang but are rare in the United States, where displays of patriotism usually take the form of flag-waving, fireworks and grilled hot dogs. —AFP