Home for the holidays?

President Barack Obama announced on Oct. 21 that the presence of American troops in Iraq would be over by the end of the year. With more than 100,000 troops removed from Iraq, Obama stated that Iraqis have taken responsibility for their country’s security.

With thousands of American deaths reported since the beginning of the Iraq war on March 19, 2003, a number of friends and family members of American soldiers have sought this day for nearly nine years. If one American life lost is a tragedy, what impact does nearly 5,000 lives lost have on American families of deceased soldiers?

Political analysts are already debating the decision to remove American troops from Iraq and whether U.S. presence brought about a victory. Some believe the decision to remove American troops from Iraq was because of stalled negotiations with Iraqi leaders. Others consider it a public relations move for the Obama Administration.

Individuals enlist in the armed forces for a variety of reasons. Some enlist because of economic reasons. Others enlist to travel across the world or serve their country from a greater sense of patriotism. No matter the reasons one may have, all hope to return home with a story to share with loved ones.

Though political analysts debate whether the war in Iraq is a victory, the opportunity to have 40,000 of our family and friends home is the greatest victory.

As a friend of someone currently serving in the military, the expectation they will return home is a serious concern.

Each phone call, conversation and care package is a chance to be reassured they’re safe. If the Obama Administration makes good on its promise, it will mean great relief for American families. Let’s hope those in Iraq come home safely by Dec. 31.