More U.S. grassroots parades for Iraq war vets possible

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 03, 2012 5:43 PM
More U.S. grassroots parades for Iraq war vets possible

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Organizers of a parade for Iraq war veterans that drew thousands of flag waving spectators in St. Louis last weekend have been asked by people around the country for help in planning similar events, officials said Friday.

The grass-roots parade -- billed as the first major celebration since the end of the Iraq War -- was organized by veterans groups, city officials and volunteers in about one month and paid for through small donations totaling $40,000.

Organizers were approached by people from Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Tucson, Nashville, and Greensboro, North Carolina, parade spokesman Chris Kuban said.

Hundreds of veterans from the wars fought since the September 11, 2001, attacks marched in Saturday's mile-long parade along St. Louis streets be-decked with American flags.

About 4,500 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq from the 2003 invasion until the last troops left in mid December. The war and subsequent occupation were marred by the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the killing of civilians by troops or private security contractors. Thousands of Iraqi troops and security forces were also killed, along with more than 100,000 civilians.

(Reporting by Bruce Olson; Editing by David Bailey and Paul Thomasch)