Let's not celebrate the tools of warfare

In reference to reports on President Donald Trump’s desire to hold a military parade in D.C. (“Trump wants a grand military parade. Some veterans say that won’t fix their problems,” Feb. 7) and leaving aside the comparisons one could make to countries and regimes that have mounted this kind of event in the past, I prefer to focus on the purpose it would serve here in America.

For almost a century now, the United States has declared itself the main defender of democracy and freedom across the world. Since the war in Vietnam, opinions vary widely, both here and abroad, on whether the U.S. is a “defender” or an “aggressor” when it sends troops abroad, but whatever their particular viewpoint on that question, most Americans hold out the hope that when our troops go into battle, it is the “defender” that shows up.

I think it is also clear that most countries in the world, whether established or developing, have and are still looking to us to lead in that way. So what would we be celebrating as we line Pennsylvania Avenue while transport and weapons of war march past? Preparedness? Victory? A booming economy? I’m not sure, but as we are the country that most often puts its young people in harm’s way around the world, I don’t think we should be celebrating war. War is a last resort and even then a detestable option. It is not a glorious example of what America stands for.

America has always appreciated its warriors, but after the attacks in 2001, it realized it needed to do a better job at regularly and publicly recognizing the troops for their sacrifice and for the courage and passion they display as they go about their very dangerous jobs. By gathering at an airport to welcome troops home or prominently featuring veterans at the Super Bowl, we are celebrating our military every day in ways small and large. Let’s continue to do that and leave the celebration of weapons and death to less fortunate countries.

Greg Bullen, Towson

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