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.