The war in Iraq has cost the lives of more than 100,000 Iraqis, and 4,479 American troops.
With the president's order that all troops will be out by the end of this year, CBS News correspondent Anna Werner reports that military homecomings this weekend took on a special meaning.
In Salina Kansas this morning, 240 National Guardsmen returned home from a year spent in Kuwait and Iraq.
"I'm happy to be back, I'm looking forward to a little time off," said 1st Lt. David Atkins.
The unit is among the first to return home since the announcement that all troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year.
At Fort Hood, Texas, Airman Alexander Glover Jr. watched the president's speech on TV.
"I have a lot of friends over there, so it's good to see they'll be home," Glover said.
Marie Sanchez says it means the end of her worries over two sons serving in Iraq.
"I'm so glad that this is over because I don't have to go through that ever again," Sanchez said.
"Everyone's extremely excited and thrilled and it's about time and we're all excited to have our troops home by Christmas," said Babette Maxwell.
And in Fort Worth, soldiers and their families were already celebrating at an annual fundraiser for the military that kicked off with a free concert by Clint Black.
"I think the highs are a little higher, I think everyone is sort of reveling in the success of the mission accomplished, and I think that the people that are celebrating it are celebrating it just a little harder," Maxwell said.
But along with the smiles and the music came questions, for people like retired helicopter pilot Gary Linfoot.
"Those sacrifices that our troops have given over there I guess ultimately you just hope that it's worthwhile," Linfoot said.
Linfoot himself was paralyzed from the waist down while on a combat mission in Iraq in 2008.
"Was it worth it for me? Oh I don't know. Probably won't be able to answer that for quite some time," Linfoot said.
It's a question that may face the country as well.