The American Legion said in a statement Thursday that money that will be spent on an upcoming military parade “would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible.”
The statement came following a CNBC report by Amanda Macias, citing a defense official with firsthand knowledge, which estimated the parade would cost $92 million — $80 million more than initially estimated.
The parade, still in the planning stages, is scheduled for November 10, marking both the Veterans Day holiday and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
According to the CNBC report, the parade in Washington, D.C. is expected to include approximately eight tanks and other armored vehicles such as Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Strykers, uniformed personnel, and flyovers from helicopters, fighters, transport aircraft, and historical planes.
President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon to explore the idea of a military parade in Washington after returning from France in July 2017, where he attended a military parade in with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“We're going to have to try to top it,” Trump said jokingly to Macron, during a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September.
In the Legion statement, however, National Commander Denise Rohan cautioned that a parade at the current time would be premature since the U.S. still remains engaged in the war on terror (the last time a parade was held in Washington was to celebrate the end of the Gulf War in 1991).
“The American Legion appreciates that our President wants to show in a dramatic fashion our nation’s support for our troops,” Rohan said. “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.”