The parade of U.S. military forces through the streets of Washington, D.C., ordered up by President Trump will be delayed, according to the Department of Defense.
The parade had been planned for Veterans Day but Pentagon spokesperson Col. Rob Manning said Thursday, without explanation, that organizers would “explore opportunities in 2019.”
The announcement followed the latest estimate of $92 million for the cost of the display, a figure media outlets attributed to unnamed U.S. officials. Defense Secretary James Mattis scoffed at that figure, saying, “I guarantee you there’s been no cost estimate,” when asked by reporters during a trip to Bogota, Colombia.
The American Legion suggested in a statement on Thursday evening that the parade be postponed until “we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home.” The statement also said the money should be spent on care for the troops and their families.
Sources had told NPR’s Tamara Keith and Tom Bowman last February that the cost could be anywhere from $3 million to $50 million.
As Keith and Bowman reported, the last parade of the armed services through Washington was in 1994, celebrating victory in Operation Desert Storm. But they noted that “Trump has said he wants to try to top the French Bastille Day parade he attended last year in Paris, which lasted just over two hours.”
Organizers had suggested that the 2018 Veterans Day parade could mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
The Pentagon had assured the nation’s capital that the display wouldn’t include tanks, so damage to city streets would be minimized. Planners said that there would be a “heavy air component,” and that the president would be surrounded by military heroes in the reviewing area.