More than three years after he campaigned against the Iraq war near this Army post, President Barack Obama returned Wednesday to hail the hundreds of thousands of US troops who fought to establish the “sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq” that America is leaving behind this month.
With his wife, Michelle, by his side, Obama marked the United States’ imminent departure from Iraq by telling hundreds of service members, many clad in fatigues and maroon berets signifying active airborne status, that the war was a “source of great controversy” at home. As a US senator, Obama opposed the decision to invade Iraq and railed against the conflict.
But he stressed Wednesday that those who fought, as well as their families, will always be remembered and honoured for their service.
“So, as your commander in chief, and on behalf of a grateful nation, I’m proud to finally say these two words, and I know your families agree - welcome home!” Obama said to the crowd of 3,000 at the 440th Structural Maintenance Hangar here.
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