LOGAN—The nine-year anniversary of the start of combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, will be the focus of a day-long series of panels and programs on March 19 at Utah State University.Spearheaded by Army Maj. Matthew Badell, USU’s ROTC commander and head of the USU Military Science Department, and journalism professor Matthew LaPlante, former Salt Lake Tribune national security reporter who served as an embedded journalist in war zones, the event is intended to recognize the contributions of all those involved in the controversial war and to help foster a process of introspective reconciliation.Afternoon and evening events will be held at the Taggart Student Center Auditorium on campus, including panels, photo exhibits by war photographers and other sessions.”This war has been, to a greater and lesser extent for each of us, an important part of our lives for the past nine years,” LaPlante said. “Now that the United States has withdrawn its forces, what we’d like to do is to help develop an honest and safe dialogue about what this war meant to America and to the USU community.”To that end, the organizers are seeking students, staff, faculty and Cache County community members—particularly veterans of the war, natives of Iraq or others whose lives were significantly affected by the conflict—to share their experiences.To participate in the “Out of Iraq” events, contact LaPlante at email@example.com or call the JCOM office at 435-797-3292.
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