President Obama and the first lady will host Iraq War veterans for a White House dinner at the end of February to mark the end of the Iraq War.
"This dinner, an expression of the nation's gratitude for the achievements and enormous sacrifices of the brave Americans who served in the Iraq war and of the families who supported them, will include men and women in uniform from all ranks, services, states and backgrounds, representative of the many thousands of Americans who served in Iraq," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at Monday's briefing.
The final combat troops left Iraq last December, nearly nine years after the invasion that toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein. Visiting troops in North Carolina just days before the last troops left Iraq, the president praised their service during the conflict.
"[Y]ou -- the incredible men and women of Fort Bragg -- have been there every step of the way, serving with honor, sacrificing greatly, from the first waves of the invasion to some of the last troops to come home," he said. "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!"
Soldiers from Fort Bragg were some of the first on the ground when the war started. Carney said the administration is working with civilian and military leaders from the Department of Defense to plan the Feb. 29 dinner.