President Barack Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, paid tribute to troops returning home from Iraq in a ceremony on December 14 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The President declared that the war in Iraq was ending honorably, saying that it was coming to an end “not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home.”
By the end of the year – December 31st – U.S. troops will be pulling out of Iraq, although President Obama has promised to continue to provide Iraq with civilian assistance. The President said further that “The war in Iraq will soon belong to history, and your service belongs to the ages.”
The President highlighted the human side of war, and reflected on the bravery and the sacrifices that have been made by the troops who are now on their way home. Obama said: “We knew this day would come. We have known it for some time now… But still, there is something profound about the end of a war that has lasted so long.” The war in Iraq lasted almost nine years, cost nearly 4,500 American lives, and left around 32,000 wounded.
Obama also said in his speech that “we are leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people. We are building a new partnership between our nations.”
During his visit to Fort Bragg, the President met with five service members who had just come home, and with the family of a fallen soldier. This is his first visit to the home of Army Special Operations, the 18th Airborne Corps, and the 82nd Airborne.