Thousands of fluttering yellow ribbons will mark a route for a staple city celebration tomorrow, combining gratitude for homecoming soldiers with a Capital Ex kickoff.

A decorated military man who will lead the winding downtown parade route says the task may be bittersweet.

“I do know that there are people out there that don’t support the military,” Warrant Officer Willy MacDonald said yesterday, adding though he’s confident Edmontonians will largely support the parade’s Canadian Forces synergy.

“I’m assuming there will be some emotional receptions along the way, which will be really nice.”

The 19-year veteran has served four terms overseas, and was recently awarded the Star of Military Valour for courage in the face of intense enemy fire in Afghanistan.

Deciding on a troop-support theme to accompany this year’s Capital Ex was an “obvious choice” for organizers. “The Edmonton Garrison is one of the major bases in Canada, and there are so many people living on it deployed overseas,” spokesman Andrew Huntley said.

Additionally, family and friends of soldiers overseas will get a chance to send video greetings to their loved ones from camera booths set up on the Capital Ex grounds. Beginning at 10 a.m., the parade will run west down 102 Avenue from 97 Street, winding back east onto 103 Avenue, before ending back at Churchill Square.