US, Iraqi Troops Gather at Saddam Hussein's Former Palace to Remember the Fallen

United States Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Iraq yesterday for a surprise visit with the troops and to remember those who gave their lives in the Iraq war.

Today, Biden, along with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey, gathered with U.S. and Iraq troops to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the 9-year war.

The memorial service took place in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces, a setting not lost on Biden: “This palace, a grotesque monument to a dictator’s greed, is today filled with American and Iraqi warriors, bound together by shared sacrifice to their countries.”

“Here in Iraq,” Biden continued, “you became partners…and friends…and now, undeniably, you are brothers-in-arms.”

 Iraqi and U.S. troops are busy preparing for the departure of U.S. troops this month. President Obama announced Oct. 21 that service members in Iraq would “definitely be home for the holidays.”

The deadline for troop withdrawal is Dec. 31.

“After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” said President Obama.

The war in Iraq began in 2003, with the announcement given by former President George W. Bush.

According to CNN, 4,802 U.S. and Coalition have died and 32,226 injured since the beginning of the war.