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New York ready for gulf war parade

With 200 miles of ticker tape, 10,000 pounds of confetti, a million yellow ribbons and enough balloons to fill a six-story building, New York is ready for today's parade to honor the veterans of Operation Desert Storm. Operation Welcome Home, the biggest ticker-tape parade in this city's history, will be a four-hour march through the skyscraper-lined "Canyon of Heroes" by 24,000 people, more than half military personnel who served in the Persian Gulf war.

"We're 99.9 percent ready," Eric Andruss, the parade spokesman, said Sunday. "We've got a plan, and it'll work."

The parade will have three grand marshals: Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of Operation Desert Storm; and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

The marshals, riding in separate convertibles, were to be followed by veterans from the 50 states and from 17 nations, celebrities including Brooke Shields, Bo Diddley and Tony Orlando, and New Yorkers in the ethnic attire of 20 nations. Music was to be provided by a kazoo band, a gay and lesbian band and various high school bands.

More than a million people are expected to turn out for the parade, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at Battery Park on the tip of lower Manhattan and moves north for a mile on Broadway, through the Financial District, past City Hall and up to Worth Street.

Operation Welcome Home organizers said they were throwing neither a victory parade nor a military parade, but "a celebration of peace achieved through international cooperation."