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Forget the military parade, do this instead

uscapitol2.jpg The U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) Print Email >Guest Voices By Guest Voices AL.com

on February 14, 2018 at 8:35 AM, updated February 14, 2018 at 8:37 AM

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Jonathan Miller>Rabbi Jonathan Millerc/o Jonathan Miller 

By Jonathan Miller, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Emanu-El, Birmingham, Alabama

I am spending more time in Washington, DC, and I will tell you that President Trump's desire to marshal a military parade through the nation's capitol is not very popular. Nobody I have spoken to wants to see tank treads on Pennsylvania Avenue. Among Washingtonians, Trump's spectacle is seen as a profligate waste of money and a diversion of effort and a bother to the everyday lives of the people who live here. I am sympathetic to these concerns, but I would still love to see a parade.

As a teenager during the days of the Vietnam War, I marched with my high school band down the streets of my town on Veterans' Day and Memorial Day. These experiences were impactful for me and my community. We marched with the veterans of wars past, honoring their courage and sacrifice. We remembered the fallen soldiers and gave homage to the families who raised them and mourned them. The community came together to give honor.

I would love to see a parade in our nation's capitol. But I would encourage our president to tweak it some. Frankly, we do not need to have missile launchers and armored vehicles rumble past an official viewing stand. We have the most powerful military in the world. We can project our power and defend our interests better than any country in the history of the world. And I have learned that if you really got it, you don't have to flaunt it. Hearkening back to the American revolution, we have shown the world that if America is determined to go to war, we will do so and the world will never be the same. God knows that we have a perfected killing machine that can, if our nation so desires, destroy every human being on the planet several times over.

But I do think we should have a parade to celebrate and observe what makes America great. Tin pot dictators like to show off their military hardware like a cornered dog bares its fangs. We are not cornered by any means. We are strong.  It is more effective to project our strength quietly and consistently than with bluster.

Instead, I would love to see America offer up a parade of what makes America great. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see Americans who were born in foreign countries amble down the streets of Washington under their native flags, showing the welcome that America has provided for them?

Wouldn't it be wonderful to raid the Museum of American History and highlight the innovations that America has offered the world, the telegraph and the airplane and the space program? That would make me very proud to be an American.

I would love to see floats from the National Archives with our elected leaders from all parties reading the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

How about men and women in Union and Confederate uniforms marching side by side as a symbol of our national reconcilliation? Or a bust from Mount Rushmore?  Or someone from the Kennedy family reading JFK's inaugural speech, or someone from President Reagan's administration reciting his ideal of the city on the hill or have Congressman John Lewis read Dr. Martin Luther King's 1963 speech amplifying the American dream?

Perhaps we can highlight some of the extraordinary Americans who have won Nobel prizes, or devoted themselves to the betterment of their communities or teachers who have had breakthroughs in the classroom or sports teams who repeat their championships, together with Olympic medal winners.

We live in a great country that was, with all of its flaws in the past, a beacon to the world for freedom and opportunity. And as wonderful as our past has been, when we celebrate our ideals and live into our potential, today's greatness will certainly be eclipsed by tomorrow's future glory. We can all agree, Republicans and Democrats, progressives and conservatives alike that we were a great nation.  We are a great nation. And our destiny for the future will be for a greatness that can be beyond our imagination.

I think we should have a parade every year to celebrate America's glory and to project ourselves into the future. So many great people live in America, including our military servicemen and women. We should celebrate them all, and parade to the world everything that makes America great and still the envy of the world.

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Source : http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/02/forget_the_military_parade_do.html

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