St. Louis will host the first parade in the nation Saturday, Jan. 28, to welcome home veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans from throughout the Midwest and nationwide have been invited to participate.
The Communications Workers of America are taking part in the event and other unions are being encouraged to participate.
The parade will start at noon Saturday at Kiener Plaza and travel west on Market Street to Union Station.
[frame src="https://labortribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/eagle-bgimage-2.png" width="250" height="150" align="left" style="2" linkstyle="none"]Inside Union Station, organizers plan to offer a resource village from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. where veterans can connect with service providers such as the Red Cross, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Mission Continues, a St. Louis-based nonprofit that assists returning veterans.
The Mission Continues is also handling donations and coordinating volunteers.
Tom Appelbaum, a lawyer in Creve Coeur and one of the grassroots organizers of the event, said more than 60 service organizations have signed up to participate.
“The level of support we’ve gotten for this is really amazing,” Appelbaum said. “There are so many different organizations out there that are designed to serve the needs of veterans. I really think something like this was needed to get the word out about what they do.”
Live entertainment will be provided at the resource village from 3 to 8:30 p.m.
CALL FOR VETERANS
Appelbaum said organizers continue to seek veterans to participate in the parade.
Veterans can sign-up to participate by visiting the organizers’ website athttp://january28group.org or by turning out at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Broadway and Clark Ave.
Appelbaum said organizers are asking the kids of St. Louis to make "thank you" and "welcome home" signs to display along the parade route.
Appelbaum encouraged children to make signs with the names of specific vets that they are welcoming home.
DONATIONS AND VOLUNTEERS
Parade organizers have received $10,000 from Anheuser-Busch and $7,500Mayflower Transit to help defray expenses. They still are seeking donations and volunteers. Mayor Francis Slay’s office waived the parade permit fees and the city’s Office of Special Events has helped with logistics.
To donate, volunteer or find out more about the event visit the parade organizers’ website at http://january28group.org.