CentCom is reporting that the last American combat brigade has left Iraq. With all the other news going on around the US, there is an unfortunate likelihood that this will be missed...or used to check off a "to do" from the agenda of a political maelstrom that has run amok in recent days.
Whatever might not be said in the days ahead, we owe these men and women a debt of gratitude we will never be able to fully repay. And yet this country needs to make every effort to try. For every Soldier you see...be they at the store, or in the airport, or climbing aboard a Greyhound bus...take a moment to shake their hand and say to them "thank you for your service"...it's the very least any of us can do.
4,415 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines lost their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Along the way, millions of Iraqis were freed from the bondage of a despicable tyrannical regime, terrorists were shown the resolve of the American people, and the Iraqi people were given a chance at a freedom that many countries, today, still do not enjoy.
To the returning heroes, I give thanks. To the families of the fallen I give my sincerest condolences and heartfelt appreciation for the sacrifice you have been asked to endure. To the Iraqi people I pray for your safety and security and your best fortunes in the days ahead, knowing the fight for your freedom is an enduring one.
To the American people, I pray you open your hearts and your arms wide, and welcome these brave men and women home, and give them the full mettle of your love and your support...and your understanding that they have sacrificed for you in ways you may never fully comprehend.
Welcome home, Soldiers, and may God bless you and your families and the United States of America.