February 13, 2005 at 2:23 PM CST - Updated July 1 at 9:00 PM
Welcome Home By: Lauren Keith
Vergennes, IL - When Sgt. Keith Wayer's learned he was on his way home from Iraq his hometown of Vergennes stopped at nothing to welcome him home.
Sergeant Wayer left for Iraq on his Birthday and during his four month tour he missed celebrating his newborn son's first birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
The Wayer family tells Heartland News that this experience makes them realize how you can't take anything for granted, especially since Keith's father, Jack, also recently returned from his second tour of duty with the Army in Iraq.
Keith claims his father was the major influence behind his decision to join the military and after their tours of duty, both agree they have a closer bond.
Keith, his wife, and son will leave on Sunday and report to an Air Force Base in Germany. Even though they've had to say goodbye to family members before the Wayer's claim it's still not any easier the second time around.
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Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by Britain during the course of World War I and in 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration.
In stages over the next dozen years, Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932.
A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of military strongmen ruled the country, the latest was SADDAM Husayn.
Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88).
In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait, but was expelled by US-led, UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991.
Following Kuwait's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections.
Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years resulted in the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime.
Coalition forces remain in Iraq, helping to restore degraded infrastructure and facilitating the establishment of a freely elected government, while simultaneously dealing with a robust insurgency.
The Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government (IG) in June 2004 and the election of its president, Ghazi al-Ujayl al-YAWR, was held in January 2005.