The US Military campaign in Iraq ended at the end of 2011 and in a ceremony marking that the Iraqi government authorized the United States and other coalition partners to award a medal on their behalf to soldiers that served in Iraq. The award still has to be approved for wear by the United States but I cannot imagine that such approval will not be given. Too many thousands of Americans have been killed our wounded in the war not for it to be awarded. The price has been paid in blood and the cost is born in the minds, bodies and spirits of those that served and survived and in the lives of those who have lost loved ones during the war.
The medal called the Government of Iraq Commitment Medal is similar in character to those issued by other countries to American service members that served in their countries. Such awards have been made by the Philippines, South Korea, South Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The announcement of the award was made in a ceremony attended by Vice President Biden on 1 December 2011in Bagdad. http://www.sather.afcent.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123281953
The letter from the Iraqi Minister of Defense is shown below.
Now to some this award is insignificant and with Iraq’s government in disarray some will mock it. But to many if not most of us that served in Iraq it will be a small thank you and remembrance of our service there. If Iraq can navigate the future successfully and overcome its own divisions perhaps those of us that served will be able to go back as visitors and maybe like those that served in the Second World War be able to help heal the wounds of war alongside the Iraqis that we served alongside, trained and advised.
“Description – The Commitment Medal is a gold-colored medal with enamel, 1 9/16 in diameter. On the front the relief of Iraq represents the area of operation. The lines symbolize the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, recalling Iraq’s title as “the land of two rivers.” The two hands superimposed over the relief symbolize the friendship between Iraq and her coalition allies. The star at the center top represents a vision of unity for the seven peoples of Iraq (Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Turkoman, Assyrian, Yazidi, Armenian) leading to a more secure, prosperous and free future for Iraqis. The inscription in both Arabic and English merge into a continuous circle symbolizing the closeness of Iraq and her allies.
On the reverse side the rayed disc symbolizes the sun, optimism and Iraq’s future of reconstruction and the establishment of the democratic way of life. The relief of Iraq represents the area of operation. The lines symbolize the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, recalling Iraq’s title as “the land of two rivers.” The crossed scimitars recall the partnership between Coalition Forces and Iraqi Security Forces essential to bringing a democratic way of life to Iraq. Gold is emblematic of honor and high achievement. It states JOINT COMMITMENT in both Arabic and English symbolizing the unity of effort between Iraq and her Coalition Partners. The palm trees along with the palm fronds on the front represent the sacrifices made by the Coalition Partners.”
Americans and Iraqis alike have sacrificed and suffered during this war. I hope that this medal will come to symbolize an effort that was not in vain.