Veterans have fought in wars – and fought against them

If former President Donald Trump had his way, the nation would have celebrated the centennial of the World War I armistice with a massive military parade in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 11, 2018.

But that never happened. When Pentagon officials announced the president’s decision to cancel the parade in August 2018, they blamed local politicians for driving up the cost of the proposed event.

There may have been other reasons.

Veterans were especially outspoken in their opposition. Retired generals and admirals feared such a demonstration would embarrass the U.S., placing the nation in the company of small-time authoritarian regimes that regularly parade their tanks and missiles as demonstrations of their military might.

President Joe Biden took a different path and last marked Veterans Day in 2021 with a traditional ceremony remembering veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

But at the time in 2018, some veterans organizations opposed the parade because they saw it as a celebration of militarism and war.

Veterans of past wars, as I document in my book “Guys Like Me: Five Wars, Five Veterans for Peace,” have long been at the forefront of peace advocacy in the United States.