Andover Memorial Honors Iraq And Afghanistan Service Members - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Andover Memorial Honors Iraq And Afghanistan Service Members

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President Obama wants close to 10,000 troops out of Afghanistan by the end of this year and the rest by 2016.  With the war winding down and veterans returning home, one local community says they must be honored and welcomed. Dozens gathered today at the Andover Lake Park to see the Iraq and Afghanistan memorial dedication ceremony.  Although we're thrilled they're coming home soon, organizers say it's important we never forget the sacrifice they made.  

"They are the newest veterans coming home and they deserve our respect and tribute for their service," said Lt. Col. Dan Swanson.

It's a tribute Lt. Colonel Dan Swanson calls well-earned because it acknowledges the sacrifice of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

"It's important we recognize these veterans and make them feel at home. When I served in Iraq and came home it took awhile to adjust to being back home," said Swanson.

Swanson says because he can identify with adjusting to coming home, he believes the monuments could help make the transition easier.   

"We're going to see more veterans coming home. The army is getting small. We're going to have more veterans relocating back into their community," said Swanson.  "It's important we tell them, 'hey, we welcome you to Andover. We recognize you for your service. Thank you for your service.  We sure welcome you back.'"

"It represents every war through the present time. They put their lives on the line and they are still doing that all over the world," said Ronald Peterson with the Andover Tourism Council.

It's a sacrifice community leader, Ronald Peterson hopes is the last monument they'll ever add to Andover Lake Park.

"We don't need or want any more wars. Anywhere in the world and this will be the last time we have to put names of men that served of died for our country," said Peterson.  

Andover Lake Park has 130 flags displayed this weekend honoring past and present service members from Henry county. Four stone monuments are permanently in place.  

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