President Obama recently announced U.S. troop involvement in the Iraq War will stop at the end of the year, with members of the military returning home by the end of December. That comes as great news to families with loved ones in uniform, but it's bittersweet news to those who have lost loved ones in the war.
“Yes, it was bittersweet,” said Marvin Trost of Elkhart. “I was ecstatic. I said ... 'about time.’”
That was how Trost felt when word came that U.S. involvement in Iraq would end this year. His son, Sgt. 1st Class Marvin Lee Trost III, died Dec. 4, 2004, when the Humvee he was traveling in was hit by a roadside bomb.
He was the first soldier from Elkhart County to die in that conflict.
“It was the most beautiful gift that God can give each of us, is our children, so that was something that I didn't want to accept,” said Trost. I never cried so hard in my life."In memory of his son, Trost built a memorial garden he plans to expand.
“I wanted to make it something beautiful that even my neighbors recognize,” he said. “…and yeah, I would like to see it grow each year.”
For him as well as other family members, not a day goes by that they don't remember the sacrifice that they made. But they realize there are thousands of other families across the country who have gone through the same pain, suffering and loss as a result of the Iraq War.
“My apologies to all the other families, you know, that have lost their children and helped the wounded children, the soldiers that have come home,” Trost said.
He feels through it all, the U.S. completed its mission in Iraq.
“I would say it was a victory, because they have the right to vote now, they have the state, a constitution, a congress, just like we do, and it has become a democracy,” Trost said.
Trost has begun a petition drive to get Oct. 21 declared a state and national holiday. That's the day President Obama announced soldiers in Iraq would come home.