With lots of press but little fanfare, the last remaining troops stationed in Iraq began packing up shop and heading home. After nearly nine years of conflict (the second longest in American history), countless billions of dollars, the lives of over 4000 of our troops and over 30,000 wounded, the U.S. mission in Iraq is now “officially” over. While this quiet ending was long in coming, it will undoubtedly leave behind an eerie feeling of dissatisfied relief amongst the Veterans who have fought there throughout the past decade.
From Saddam Hussein and his illusive weapons of mass destruction, to the following years of roadside bomb’s, IED’s, kidnappings, insurgency, Fallujah, and beyond… America’s Veterans have paid a heavy toll for what was once dubbed as “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” However future generations may recall it, may they never forget the sacrifice of those that fought there, and of our fallen heroes that never made it home.
So on this day, when many of you are probably feeling a little surreal about the occasion. I wanted to take a moment to thank my fellow Iraq Veterans for all of their dedicated service over the years. Although the “official” war may have ended in Iraq, its memories will fade hard and linger on in its wake for many years to come. When you think back though, take pride in knowing that against all odds you kept the faith and performed brilliantly.
Marine Corps Veteran Sgt. Deniz Emre served on active duty from 2002-2007. In 2003 he fought in the invasion of Iraq as an Infantryman with Alpha Company, 3rd LAR Battalion, subsequently serving out the remainder of his enlistment on overseas assignments in Europe and West Africa. In July of 2007, Deniz enrolled as a full-time and graduated this past May with honors with a B.A. in Economics from Suffolk University in Boston. He helps his fellow post-9/11 era Veterans to successfully navigate the difficult transition home by providing them with a familiar voice at www.militarytocivilianlife.com