Dustin Steinhoff, Staff Writer

President Donald Trump loves his military. As if it were not known from his weekly tweets praising the United States’ strong military presence, Trump has stated that he would like the U.S. to throw a parade to honor the military. This has resulted in opposition from both sides of the political spectrum, retired soldiers, and myself.

According to The Washington Post, during a meeting at the Pentagon on Jan. 18, Trump requested options for “an elaborate parade” similar to that of France’s Bastille Day parades. Of all of the ideas to borrow from France, this has to be the least important. France has a universal health care program that was declared “close to best overall healthcare” in the world by the World Health Organization. In June 2017, Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement, a response to global climate change, despite the U.S. contributing to 14.3 percent of the global carbon dioxide emissions. Instead of coming to the conclusion that France has a successful health care program or that they are one of 195 countries to agree to an agreement to try to prevent climate change, Trump decided the only thing that could be learned from his trip was that the U.S. needs more parades. The fact that Trump values a military parade more than health care or protecting the environment is not a surprise, but it is disappointing all the same.

Let’s talk about the cost. According to NPR, the Department of Defense put together some options at Trump’s request for potential military parades. These options range from costing $3 million to $50 million. This is an insane amount of money to spend on something that is nowhere near being a necessity. In the wake of the government shutdown that occurred on January 20 because of Congress’ failure to pass a government funding legislation, why is spending millions of dollars on a parade an option right now?

We do not need a parade to show that we care about the military and appreciate everything they do to protect this country. What we should be doing is making sure their sacrifices mean something. If Americans continue to stand by while mass shootings render schools, concerts, and churches unsafe, turn their backs on refugees and immigrants who wish for better lives, and allow discrimination against someone due to their race, sex, or religion to persist, then the military is wasting their time protecting us. No military parade will change that.