What started as a conversation on Facebook between two St.Louisans, Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum, sparked into the first “Welcome Home” Parade for U.S. troops after leaving operations in Iraq. Veterans and those supporting them traveled from all over the country to show their thanks and welcome them home.
Over 100 entries were involved in the parade including marching bands, motorcycle groups, and military units. In addition, some 600 veterans, many in military uniforms and fatigues, marched down Market Street waving and giving salutes and thumbs-up to the crowd.
Organizers estimated the turnout reached 100,000. It was truly an honor and a privilege to be able to attend this parade and help welcome home and honor our brave soldiers. More photographs from the parade can be seen here.
When parades happen in downtown St.Louis, it is customary that many businesses along the parade route allow spectators to use their front steps in order to gain a better view of the parade. This access is incredibly helpful to those who are elderly or suffer from disabilities. A good example of this is the Peabody Opera House at 1400 Market Street as pictured in the background below:
Absolutely all of the businesses along Market Street allowed such access during Saturday’s parade welcoming home our U.S. military, well, all except the Bank of America Plaza. Bank of America was so adamant about denying access to their precious “patio”, as one security guard described it as he repeatedly told me to leave, that they made sure these large barricades were in place before many arrived.
This additional elevated vantage point would have been greatly appreciated by spectators to last Saturday’s parade wanting to show their support for our troops whether they were elderly, disabled, veterans or not.
For a bank that is already suffering from the image of being “against our troops” by their recent illegal foreclosure tactics against our U.S. servicemen, last Saturday was a real missed opportunity. As ABC News reported on Nov. 11th, 2011:
At least 160 active members of the U.S. military had their homes “illegally foreclosed upon” by the Bank of America, according to the Justice Department.
One thing the execs at Bank of America could have done was spend a few dollars and help area veterans, who could not easily make it to this event, and position them on their patio so they could enjoy the parade and show their support as well. I guess the brain trust at BofA missed that one.
Oh, but that would cost more than just requesting barricades to keep out those wanting to welcome home our brave servicemen and servicewomen. I suppose when you have presidents bail-out your bank to the tune of $45 Million, you don’t have to worry about PR or doing the ‘right thing’ like other businesses. No fear of failure here.