Leader Pelosi spoke on the House floor today on the end of the war in Iraq:
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as we gather here, President Obama is at Fort Bragg honoring and thanking our men and women in uniform for their service in the war in Iraq and for the sacrifices they have been willing to make to keep us the ‘home of the brave and the land of the free.’ America’s brave men and women in uniform have done everything that has been asked of them, they have performed with valor, with courage, with patriotism and a dedication to duty. It is because of our troops and the leadership of President Obama that this month we were able to say: ‘The war in Iraq is over, our troops are coming home, coming home for the holidays with our families.’ And as we thank our troops, we also thank the families of our men and women in uniform for the sacrifices they have been willing to make for our country.
“President Obama promised to end the war in Iraq responsibly: promise made, promise kept. When he took office nearly 150,000 American troops were deployed in Iraq. This month, our troop presence will wind down to just around a few thousand. In winding down the war, the President honored the wishes of the American people.
“As we mark the end of the war, we honor the nearly 4,500 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq. Tens of thousands more have been wounded. We will never forget those who were lost in the war. We’ll forever be grateful to them and to their families. I’m from Baltimore, Maryland, when my father was Mayor they built Baltimore stadium, what would they call it? The consensus name was ‘Baltimore Memorial Stadium’ to honor those who had sacrificed, made so much sacrifice for our country. And General Pershing said, and that was engraved on Baltimore Memorial Stadium: ‘Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.’ Time will not, indeed, dim the glory of those who served and sacrificed in Iraq. I’m particularly proud to have presided over four years of a Congress that made more progress for our veterans and military families then has been made since the passage of the original G.I. Bill in 1944. But our work is not done.
“On the battlefield our troops, on the battlefield the military says: “We will leave no soldier behind,” and when they come home, we promise, Democrats and Republicans working together, to leave no veteran behind. Over a million of our men and women in uniform served in Iraq. We must honor their service with economic opportunities and the benefits they deserve. We must remember that our commitment to our veterans is not while they serve, or even for life, it is a commitment forever. To them and their families. We must build a future worthy of their sacrifice. As the war in Iraq comes to an end, we express our enormous gratitude to those who have served and because of them we express our great optimism for the future.
“With that Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.”