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Organizers Preparing For Welcome Home Iraq Veterans Parade

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Organizers of a parade designed to welcome home U.S. soldiers from the war in Iraq are hoping for a big turnout on Saturday.

The parade will go west along Market Street from Broadway to Union Station in downtown St. Louis.

The parade will start at Noon on Saturday but another more solemn event will begin at 9:11pm on Friday.

The names of the service men and women who lost their lives in the wars following 9-11 will be read during a candlelight vigil on the steps of Soldiers Memorial at 1315 Chestnut Street in downtown St. Louis.

The reading of the 6,507 names is expected to go through Friday night and last 10 hours.

Some 50 veterans' organizations will be part of a Veterans Resource Village on Saturday beginning at 11:00am.

The non-profit group The Mission Continues is the financial backer of the parade.  They help returning soldiers transition into a life of service at home.

It's the perfect mission for the two men who came up with the idea for the parade.

"We have problems in America and we have the perfect solution coming home to fix it," explained Craig Schneider.

He and Tom Appelbaum are the force behind turning talk on Facebook into an event that's expected to draw thousands.

"Don't talk to us about impossible because we can show you step by step it's not," said Schneider.

"It really is inspiring to see so many people stepping up to do things that they care about," said Appelbaum.