After 24 months of continuous combat Saturday, President Bush expresses his gratitude for the efforts of more than 1,500 fallen U.S. troops. "I know nothing can end the pain of the families who have lost loved ones in this struggle, but they can know that their sacrifice has added to America's security and the freedom of the world."
But much of the world continues condemning the conflict. In London, at least 10,000 people protest. They're joined in Istanbul, Turkey, by another 15,000 who oppose the war. Some dressed as U.S. troops beating an Iraqi prisoner, as others direct the President to "get out."
Meanwhile, in Madison, a group of Dairy State residents protest the on-going war in from of a local military recruiting center, reading a Declaration of Support for soldiers who refuse orders to engage in combat.
Protestor Bonnie Block explains, "The statement we read and that we signed actually is a violation of the law, because you are not supposed to encourage or council a soldier to follow their conscience. And we think that's wrong."
While supporters of the war point to the reconstruction of Iraq's infrastructure, and the recent elections, as indications of progress, opponents say motivation for the invasion was flawed from the beginning of conflict, citing the failure to find weapons of mass destruction.
Steve Wagener's son served on year in Tikrit, Iraq. Now the member of a group called Military Families Speak Out is doing just that. "I suggested people get on their phones, write their emails and letters to their Congressman and ask for an immediate stop for this event."
Saturday, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, hosted a town hall meeting for defense workers. He described the war's progress "wonderful," citing a bustling Iraqi stock market.