Eight years, eight months and 25 days after it began, America’s war in Iraq came to a quiet and uncertain end on Thursday.
With major questions about Iraq’s future and security unsettled, the United States wasn’t declaring victory during Thursday ceremonies and speeches.
What is fact is that the war numbers are sobering. The U.S. lost 4,484 military personnel since 2003 in Iraq. Of those, 142 hailed from Georgia, but according to Vet Friends, none were from Smyrna. A total of 32,226 U.S. soldiers were seriously wounded in the war and they may require care for the rest of their lives.
Iraqi civilians suffered enormously and according to data from Iraq Body Count, which monitors reported deaths, the estimate is that 113,728 Iraqis died.
And according to Congress Research Service, the war in Iraq has cost the U.S. $823.2 billion since 2003. Speaking before troops at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on Thursday, President Barack Obama acknowledged the fierce and often partisan divide that for years dominated public discussion of the war in the U.S.
It will be interesting to see if Fox News commentator Sean Hannity does the same when he hosts his Holiday Concert Salute to the Troops on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the .
On his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon, Hannity announced new guests for Sunday's event and also that just a few hundred tickets remained. Already committed to appear at the family-friendly event are three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith, combat-decorated Marine/best-selling author Oliver North and platinum-selling recording artist John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting.
On Thursday, Hannity announced that former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain and comedian Jeff Foxworthy would also join the festivities that benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.
According to the press release, for the past eight years, Hannity has been instrumental in raising more than $10 million to support the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, which was founded by North to support military heroes and provide college scholarships for the children of service members killed or permanently disabled in action.
As a note, there are numerous stories on the Internet about the Freedom Alliance not being as charitable as they are supposed to be.
Still, in a previously released statement, Hannity said, “At this time of year it is so important that we not only recognize the sacrifices the men and women of our Armed Forces make, but we take time out to honor them and pay tribute to the freedoms we’ve been given through their service to our country.
“These concerts are a great avenue for us to be able to come together as families, enjoy the holiday season and celebrate our troops. I’m honored to have some extremely talented friends join me on stage for what is sure to be a series of very special nights honoring some very special people.”
Tickets may be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000. Cobb Energy ticket info can be found here. To purchase tickets online, or to find out more information on Sean Hannity’s Holiday Concert Salute to the Troops, please visit www.Hannity.com.