Rally in Chicago marks end of Iraq war

December 16, 2011 9:22:13 AM PST
Nine years ago, thousands of people gathered in Chicago's Loop to protest the build-up to the start of the war in Iraq. Friday morning, some of them are back, marking the end of the war.

Anti-war activists say the determination of a few can change the world, and they believe that this a time in history to be thankful for.

Nine years and two months ago, after the first large protest against the impending war in Iraq, organizers of a now-famous Chicago rally have returned to the original federal plaza site to mark the end of what they said was going to be an ill-conceived and costly war.

On October 2, 2002, then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama joined the thousands of protesters at the rally in Chicago. Thursday, the Pentagon declared an official end to its mission in Iraq, which began in 2003 to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction that were never found.

"We're coming today with the Chicago organizers and also anti-war leaders from around the country who inspired by Chicago and their own sense of morality and what the war was gonna cost have come together today to celebrate a national victory for the anti-war movement, victory for the American people, hope for peace in the Middle East, and also the serenity of the Iraqi people, and also to mourn the loss of life," said Marilyn Katz, Chicagoans Against the War in Iraq.

A few feet away from the small gathering of Chicagoans Against the War in Iraq, there were counter protesters from another group called the March 19th Anti-War Coalition. They say the president is not to be congratulated. They believe that the government is not bringing all U.S. troops home or ending its conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Chicagoans Against the War in Iraq were joined by anti-war leaders from across the nation Friday morning. They say this a time in history that should be celebrated, but it is also bittersweet because so many lives were lost.

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