After nine years of war in Iraq, every American should be happy to hear that our marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen are coming home to their families and that Iraq is on its way to independence. Personally, I am incredibly thankful that President Obama has stayed true on his promise to get our troops out of Iraq. The president has shown that he is committed to securing Iraq's freedom and independence, and the Iraqis have shown that they are willing and able now to lead this fight on their own. His foreign policy has built America up again as a powerful force in spreading democracy, whether it is securing Iraq, transitioning in Afghanistan, or helping liberate Libya.
I had the opportunity to experience what happened in Iraq with the Marines in Fallujah. I am thankful that we have done what we came to do, and am grateful to bring our troops home. The day I came home was one of the happiest, not only of my life, but of my friends' and family as well.
The men and women of our military have, with skill and bravery, brought Iraq back from the brink. Today, they can all be proud of what they've accomplished and overjoyed to be coming home. Thousands of brave men and women (4,500) have lost their lives in service to their country over the last 9 years in Iraq. This is an end worthy of their sacrifice.
But the transition is not easy, and President Obama has worked to ensure the move home is the best it can be for our veterans. As part of the American Jobs Act, job-makers could earn $5,600 or $9,600 in tax credits by hiring veterans who have been unemployed for over 6 months. And since President Obama signed it into law in 2009, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has helped 600,000 veterans go to school. President Obama has shown time and again his gratitude for our veterans, and his commitment to their prosperity after they come home.
So thank you, President Obama, for living up to your promises of finishing the Iraq war, defeating Osama bin Laden, and continuing to draw our troops out of Afghanistan. The United States of America has reestablished both its strength and its international reputation. And to our troops returning home, to their families, and to a safe and secure America, Happy Holidays.