by Max Barry

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Region: Wintreath


News Report: Military parades in Thalasus for "Triumph Day"

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Today in Farbanti, San Salvacion, Leiloa, Jacinto, and other major cities across Thalasus, thousands of active-duty soldiers are parading across the major thoroughfares in celebration of Triumph Day. Triumph Day marks the date of the final victory over the British empire that secured the nation's independence and allowed for a nation state to be born, who's ratification of the constitution is celebrated tomorrow. Triumph Day also marks a major celebration and ostentatious demonstration of Thalasi military might. Flyovers of military aircraft and salutes fired from the guns of naval vessels are near constant, and artillery pieces and armored vehicles rove through the cities flanked by marching soldiers (many of whom are on active duty, but off rotation) and by adoring citizens, who have come out in droves to cheer on their armed forces.

This celebration and parade which kicks off the three-day Thalasi "patriotic holiday" season is not without controversy, however. Many peace groups, socialist unions, and civil rights organizations have condemned Triumph Day in the past.
"It is a state-enforced celebration of militarism and imperialism," commented leftist pundit Alphonse Drutharti recently. "If it were truly a celebration of independence that would be one thing, but in a nation with a military that mostly suppresses rebellions domestically and fights trade wars abroad, the sight of jack-booted soldiers marching through normally peaceful city streets is enough to turn the stomach."

Many others are positive about the festivities, however.
"Triumph Day is a celebration of the people's victory against an empire in the past, and the present and future strength of the most powerful democratic state in the world," said General Anton Dias in a recent press conference. "By organizing these parades and demonstrations, we show to the world our hard-fought martial might. The enemies of peace and freedom ought to be fearful, and those who are friends of humanity ought to be comforted and filled with pride by today."
"I don't know what the fuss is about," said a random person we dragged off the street when we presented him with Drutharti's quote. "Thalasus was born from a violent revolution, and the military has protected Thalasi democracy many times, like when they bombed Blackacre and when they ousted our oppressive communist government in a coup. Even if they've gone away from that a little, they still deserve some respect. What's wrong with celebrating it?"

Several political analysts have noted that these demonstrations, organized and presided over by President Ashton Mercer, are numerically the largest in Thalasi history, with thousands of soldiers participating and hundreds of demonstrations of military technology and strength happening across the nation. Some believe that this is an effort by the Mercer administration to threaten and intimidate Allouxia, as the two nations have recently traded blows and only narrowly avoided an all-out war with a last minute diplomatic deal. Others have said that it is possible that President Mercer is attempting to reassure allies and please the Thalasi conservative political scene, as he has been criticized many times for his "lenient" approach to the Allouxian crisis and his preference for economic soft power over gunboat diplomacy when compared to previous administrations.

Regardless of the cause or effect, the celebrations are expected to continue well into the night, ending at midnight with a ten thousand soldier strong constitutional oath-taking ceremony at the Citadel and a final artillery salute to be fired simultaneously at every Thalasi military base across the world.