EUGENE, Ore. -- Tuesday was filled with reflection for many veterans who served in the middle east, as the day marked ten years since the United States declared war against Iraq.
For Iraq War veteran Brant Gilmore, memories of his first tour are still fresh in his mind. In an interview with KVAL News, the Army National Guard member said his first step on Iraqi soil changed his life forever.
“I think about it daily. When you go through something like that and you become close to a bunch of guys you see everyday, it's impossible to forget,” said Gilmore. "You're trusting your life in the hands of your friend and asking him to trust you with his."
He was deployed to Iraq nearly two years after the war started for a year-long tour of duty.
“Three weeks in, my platoon got hit with a roadside bomb. My gunner lost his left eye, shrapnel through his leg, and left side. Makes it hard to sleep after that,” Gilmore said.
“I feel very lucky … very lucky to be in the place I am,” said Gilmore. “I have my life and my limbs. It breaks my heart everyday for the people that don't."
Gilmore said he believes troops should have never been deployed in Iraq, but thinks there was some good that came out of it.
“We helped lots of children and helped families and definitely made Iraq more safe, you know. It wasn't for nothing,” Gilmore said.
After more than eight years of fighting, the war was declared over in December of 2011. Even after U.S. troops left Iraq, the war-torn country is still searching for peace