The American general who oversaw the withdrawal of tens of thousands of troops from Iraq returns to the United States on Tuesday, carrying the military flag that flew over the Iraqi capital.
The simple act is a long-standing military tradition that signifies the end of a mission.
There is little simple, though, about this act.
When Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III returns the United States Forces-Iraq command flag to U.S. soil, it will mark the formal conclusion of the military mission in Iraq.
Austin, who lowered the command flag in Baghdad last week, will be met at Andrews Air Force Base by President Barack Obama, according to White House and Pentagon officials.
The return of Austin and the flag will be commemorated with a ceremony attended by Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the officials said.FULL STORY