By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON (2/21/12) -- President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will honor Iraq War veterans and their families - including National Guard members - at the White House later this month, White House officials announced in a statement Feb 6.
The president and first lady will host a dinner Feb. 29 to honor troops who served in operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn and their families.
"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," the statement said.
Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, welcomed the final group of U.S. troops home from Iraq on Dec. 20, 2011.
Dempsey praised troops and their families for their service and sacrifice while serving in two operations during the Iraq War.
"We will be honored to be a part of 'A Nation's Gratitude' hosted by President and Mrs. Obama to recognize the significant contributions of the U.S. military and military families to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn," the chairman said in a Facebook post.
"These heroes and those they represent have sacrificed to defend our nation and provide the Iraqi people an opportunity for a peaceful and secure future," he said. "I'm proud of their courage and appreciate this appropriate recognition of their service."
The White House has been working with military and civilian leaders across the Defense Department on this tribute, the statement said, and will release more details regarding the dinner as they become available.