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Honoring Salvadorian Soldiers Who Served In Iraq

first_imgBy Dialogo February 24, 2009 Salvadorian government announced the celebration next Saturday of a “patriotic ‎holiday”, in honor of more than 3,700 soldiers who served in Iraq between August ‎‎2003 and last December, to be divided into eleven groups. ‎ The Minister of Interior, Juan Miguel Bolanos, told the news conference that the ‎event, which will be attended by President Elías Antonio Saca, will begin around ‎‎09:00 local time (15.00 GMT) at the “Jorge Magico Gonzalez” stadium, in San ‎Salvador, and huge crowds are expected. ‎ According to the Deputy Minister of Defense and Public Safety, Admiral Marco ‎Antonio Palacios, the ceremony will be “an act of gratitude to over 3,700 soldiers” ‎who engaged in humanitarian work to “alleviate the suffering of thousands of ‎people who are fighting to strengthen the democracy.”‎ Saca will grant awards to the XI Contingent of Cuscatlan Battalion, which is ‎composed of 200 soldiers who returned home last February 7, after working in ‎Iraq and the assistance program offered by El Salvador to the Arab nation for six months till December 31, 2008.‎ Then, the President will honor all the participants of the mission, which began in ‎August 2003 with the deployment of 360 participants. ‎ From the second to the ninth contingents the groups grew to 380 members, the ‎tenth was down to 300 and the last to 200, all assigned to work for a semester in ‎humanitarian and reconstruction work in Iraq. ‎ Some of the personnel redeployed with the military groups to Iraq several times. ‎ Cuscatlan Battalion, formed by personnel specialized in various areas, lost five of ‎their members and about twenty of them were injured during their missions to ‎Iraq, mostly by the explosions of handmade roadside bombs. ‎ The XI Contingent left for Iraq in August 2008 under the command of Colonel ‎César Adonai Acosta Bonilla and developed their work at Camp Delta, in the city ‎of Al Kut, a province of Wasit. ‎ The Deputy Minister of Defense said, that the forthcoming February 28 ‎celebration ” is a civic event, where our youth must be represented because that ‎were young Salvadoran soldiers who were representing democracy, freedom and ‎peace” in Iraq. ‎ Social organizations and the Catholic Church have repeatedly expressed their ‎opposition to sending Salvadoran troops to Iraq in support of the coalition of ‎nations led by the United States. ‎last_img read more