FORT BRAGG — President Barack Obama came to Fort Bragg today to thank troops for their service in the nine-year war in Iraq and to mark their role in bringing the war to an end.
"The war in Iraq will soon belong to history," Obama said. "Your service will belong to the ages."
Speaking to a large crowd in a maintenance hangar on base, Obama said that 1.5 million Americans had served in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. He noted that 30,000 were wounded -- "and those are only the wounds that show" -- and nearly 4,500 were killed, including 202 from Fort Bragg.
Obama said Americans disagreed about the war in Iraq, whether the invasion had been justified. But despite that, the president said, "there was one constant: your patriotism. Your commitment to fulfill the mission."
He and first lady Michelle Obama also emphasized the commitments and sacrifices of military families. "You, too, have the thanks of a grateful nation," Obama said.
Obama pledged that the country would not forget the service of the country's troops and promised to help veterans find jobs and help wounded warriors heal and find peace.
"We will keep faith with you," he said.
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