As the 10-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War passes this week, Petaluma residents took a moment to share their memories of March 19, 2003, the day the U.S. began military strikes against Iraq.
Although President George W. Bush would declare "Mission Accomplished" later that spring and the U.S. would capture Saddam Hussein before the end of the year, fighting against insurgents continued for years, and 4,802 Americans and allies would die over the course of the war, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.
Another 110,000 Iraqi civilians are estimated to have killed in the conflict.
President Barack Obama declared the American combat mission in Iraq over in 2010 and a draw-down began shortly thereafter. But more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers remain in Afghanistan, and casualties continue to mount.
This week, we asked Patch readers to reflect on where they were when the invasion of Iraq was announced and their thoughts about what's transpired since then.
Petaluma Patch reader Jake Marble recalled standing in line outside San Francisco's Warfield Theatre, waiting to see a concert.
"People were picketing/marching on the oppositie side of the street...opposed to the ongoing invasion," he recalls. "I caught myself thinking about the unimaginable suffering the people of Iraq regularly suffered, balanced againt my care-free night at a rock-and-roll concert. It was surreal."
Deb Johansen was at her son's kindergarten class, just hours after the news was announced.
"We were in the morning circle in the garden singing "Morning is Broken" because it was the first day of spring, and I started crying and couldn't stop," she said.
To read other people's reflections, click here.
We want to know: how did the Iraq war impact you and your family? Where were you when you learned the U.S. had invaded Iraq? Respond in the comments section below.