By CATHERINE WECLH
PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island's congressional delegation is thanking the men and women of the armed forces for their service as the U.S. formally shut down the war in Iraq.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Jim Langevin thanked troops saying they were proud of their service. Senator Jack Reed said the long-term relationship with Iraq will include diplomacy.
During the nearly nine-year conflict in Iraq, about 3,800 Rhode Island National Guard members served there. The Rhode Island National Guard's Denis Riel said Guard members took over operations of the Abu Ghraib prison after news surfaced of detainee abuse, and they also guarded polling places during the first democratic election in Iraq.
"So clearly the Rhode Island National Guard played a significant role in that," said Riel, "and something we point to with great pride in the service of our soldiers and airmen over the past last ten years."
The war in Iraq claimed 4,500 American lives, including a dozen service members from Rhode Island.
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