Speaking to servicemembers and military families at Fort Bragg, North Carolina earlier today, President Obama welcomed troops home from Iraq and thanked them for their sacrifice.
Today, I’ve come to speak to you about the end of the war in Iraq. Over the last few months, the final work of leaving Iraq has been done. Dozens of bases with American names that housed thousands of American troops have been closed down or turned over to the Iraqis. Thousands of tons of equipment have been packed up and shipped out. Tomorrow, the colors of United States Forces-Iraq—the colors you fought under—will be formally cased in a ceremony in Baghdad. Then they’ll begin their journey across an ocean, back home.
Over the last three years, nearly 150,000 U.S. troops have left Iraq. And over the next few days, a small group of American soldiers will begin the final march out of that country. Some of them are on their way back to Fort Bragg. As General Helmick said, “They know that the last tactical road march out of Iraq will be a symbol, and they’re going to be a part of history.”
As your commander in chief, I can tell you that it will indeed be a part of history. Those last American troops will move south on desert sands, and then they will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high. One of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of the American military will come to an end. Iraq’s future will be in the hands of its people. America’s war in Iraq will be over.