The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

'Welcome Home Heroes' Parade For Iraq Vets Set For Saturday In St. Louis

Veterans of the war in Iraq will be honored Saturday morning in St. Louis in what organizers say is the first major welcome home parade in the nation.

Local KSDK-TV reports that "75 floats, two marching bands and the Budweiser Clydesdales" will be involved.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, two friends — Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum — came up with the idea.

The Associated Press says that Appelbaum, a 46-year-old lawyer, and Schneider, a 41-year-old school technology coordinator, said they were puzzled by the lack of celebrations marking the war's end. But, they wondered, if St. Louis could host thousands of people for a parade after their beloved Cardinals won the World Series, why couldn't there be a party for the troops who put their lives on the line?"

After they created a Facebook page and website to promote the idea, help and donations (including $10,000 from Anheuser-Busch and $7,500 from Mayflower) came in.

Events actually start this evening, at 9:11 p.m. CT, when volunteers will begin reading the 6,000+ names of American military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Also getting involved in the events: The Mission Continues, which describes itself as "the only national nonprofit challenging post-9/11 veterans to rebuild a sense of purpose through community service."

The weather should be good for tomorrow's parade: Weather.com says it should be around 40 degrees and Sunday when the parade kicks off at noon local time.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.