The war in Iraq is officially over.
That is so weird to me. I feel like it's been happening for so long. And we've been personally effected by it.
Granted, the Marines stopped deploying to Iraq a while ago, it's still strange to think that we are only actively involved in one conflict now.
I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the first shots were fired in Iraq. I remember watching TV and seeing the night vision footage showing the bombs and bullets flying back and forth.
I remember when The Husband and I were first dating and he told me he wanted to join the Marines and I was so afraid that I told him no. All I saw on the news was Iraq and how many were being hurt or killed. I didn't want to risk it.
I remember when The Husband told me that he wanted to enlist.
I remember when I finally came around to the idea of it and agreed.
I remember saying goodbye to him that September morning in 2007 as he boarded those God-awful white busses to take him to March AFB so he begin his journey to Iraq. I also remember that super early March 2009 morning where he would be leaving again.
I remember that feeling of seeing an unknown KIA listed on the DoD list and praying that it wasn't him.
I remember the feeling of relief from hearing his voice, but the utter sadness in learning that someone else wasn't coming home and someone else wasn't going to be as lucky.
I remember homecoming, both of them, like it was yesterday. That amazing feeling of a hug after 7 months. Of knowing that they were back safe and sound.
And now I will forever remember the 4,500 troops who gave their lives in service to our country and the hundres of thousands that went there selflessly and those of us left behind to wait... and I will forever remember to be grateful.