St. Louis to host nation's first welcome home parade for Iraqi war veterans

On Saturday, January 28th, St. Louis will be the first major U.S. city to host a parade for Iraq war veterans.

Last month the war in Iraq officially came to an end.  A grassroots movement sprang up in December to have St. Louis sponsor an event to thank American servicemen and women for the sacrifices they and their families have endured. Since then, a wealth of support has snowballed around the idea to make it a reality.

"The Super Bowl doesn't happen until two weekends from now-you wanna know what happens next weekend? St. Louis happens," explained Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC program last night. "St. Louis, Missouri is set to be the first city in the United States to host a welcome home parade for veterans of the Iraq War."

Rep. Russ Carnahan announced on the floor of the U.S. House today,

"The grassroots organization (The January 28th Group / Welcome Home Foundation) launched a social network campaign to raise awareness and money to stage the parade and a veteran's resource event to follow-The January 28th Group is partnering with St. Louis based veteran service organizations including The Mission Continues, which works to help veterans transfer their military and leadership skills to civilian life."

Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum have helped spur the idea on from its inception, along with the help of many who have volunteered their time and money to bring the event to fruition. A non-profit organization called the Welcome Home Foundation has been formed to help boilerplate the concept around the country.

"I think it happened here because it had to start somewhere," said Craig Schneider. "We're in the middle of the country, we're just a small town/city that knows how to get things done-we know how to stop saying "that's impossible", and if we have to get everybody together including the Mayor on down to make something happen that's positive, then this is a town that has a great reputation for doing that."

The parade will start at noon on Saturday, January 28th, at Kiener Plaza in front of the historic Old Courthouse and head west to end at Saint Louis Union Station.

The Iraq war lasted for nearly 9 years with the last American troops leaving the nation on December 18th after talks about extending the stay of U.S. forces collapsed.

To help volunteer or for more information please visit: or call Craig Schneider at 636-262-3772.

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