US troops return home from Iraq - 17 Dec 2011  
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In a ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq on Thursday, December 15, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the US mission in Iraq had officially come to an end.

Leon Panetta: Challenges remain, but the United States will be there to stand by the Iraqi people as they navigate those challenges to build a stronger and more prosperous nation.

Barack Obama: 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!  Welcome home.  Welcome home. Welcome home.

This followed an address made the previous evening at Fort Bragg in Virginia, USA, where President Barack Obama and First Lady Michele Obama, who has been working to assist returning veterans with employment, welcomed soldiers back to the United States.

With thousands who are returning now, nearly all are expected to be home for the holidays. We join in thankfulness and welcome, all returning troops. Wishing you many joyous reunions with loved ones and new beginnings of life as we pray that peace may prevail in Iraq and all countries of the world.

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