Reporting Kai Jackson
RISING SUN, Md. (WJZ)– Ending the war in Iraq. After almost nine years, U.S. forces officially finish the mission there.
Kai Jackson has the subdued ceremony bringing the war to a close.
The war in Iraq is over. On Thursday, U.S. officials ended the conflict which started in March 2003. In a quiet ceremony in Baghdad, American leaders said this is the end of the U.S. involvement, yet the beginning of self-governing for Iraq.
“Your nation is indebted to you,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said.
The human toll in the war has been staggering. About 4,500 American servicemen and women were killed, and 100,000 Iraqis were killed in the conflict.
The financial impact has also been significant. The war cost taxpayers $800 billion.
Yet, there’s a sense of relief that service members are coming home.
“I really do hope the best for the Iraqi people,” one Army officer said.
Many Iraqis are glad to see Americans go.
One man said the U.S. has sown seeds of division and sectarianism.
A yellow ribbon is on the door of the Jenkins home in Rising Sun, Cecil County.
Michael Jenkins is a first lieutenant with the Combat Aviation Brigade of the Maryland National Guard.
“I’m very excited for the families who do get to spend Christmas with their soldiers,” Michael Jenkins wife, Carrie Jenkins, said. “A lot of the soldiers are still going to be over in Kuwait.”
Michael Jenkins was just deployed in September. His unit has moved to Kuwait, but he’s not coming home yet.
First Lt. Michael Jenkins’ deployment with the Maryland National Guard is scheduled for a year. His family said a great gift would be if that deployment wrapped up and he came home early.
“We talked on the phone and on the computer,” 6-year-old Brent Jenkins, Michael Jenkins’ son, said.
Michael Jenkins is a pilot and flies the massive Chinook helicopter. His wife says she is glad he is in Kuwait, but by the same token, she’s on guard any day he flies.
Some 32,000 American troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis have been injured in the war.