Veterans of the Iraq War are possibly feeling a little more honor today after thousands of spectators lined Market Street in downtown St. Louis to say thank you for their service. A Welcome Home Heroes event featured those who were home from duty as well as families who lost loved ones in the conflict that began almost ten years ago and ended for most of the servicemen and women last year.
More than 80 units took part in the parade Saturday afternoon, many decorated with signs that read “thank you” and “welcome home.” Those along the route carried signs that said the same, and almost everyone held or wore an American Flag. While many along the street applauded as the units moved past, the cheers grew louder for Iraq War veterans and their families that were walking or riding in the parade. There were also veterans from past conflicts in the parade, but the largest contingent was made up of numerous motorcyclists including the Patriot Guard, a group that escorts families during the funerals for fallen soldiers. St. Louis was the first city to host such an event, and other communities across the country are reportedly planning the same. The parade marched from Kiener Plaza to Union Station where dozens of agencies were set up to assist veterans in their transition back to civilian life.