Anti-war activists gathered Friday morning in downtown Chicago to commemorate the formal end of the war in Iraq.
Rally organizers' choice of the Federal Plaza at Adams and Dearborn in the city's Loop was made not only to honor the war's end but also to remember the first large protest against what was then an impending war, on October 2, 2002, at the same location.
On that day, as ABC Chicago reports, thousands of activists and protesters, including then-Senator Barack Obama, gathered to speak out against what they feared would be an expensive, drawn-out war that was ill-conceived. Obama said he stood opposed to "a dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics."
Marilyn Katz of Chicagoans Against War and Injustice, said that rally marked only the beginning of what "grew to a movement of millions who opposed a war and became a critical force in electing a president who promised to end the war he had long opposed."
"That movement has continued," Katz said in a statement. "The promise has been kept. We return to Federal Plaza to mourn the losses all have endured and to celebrate the difference that citizen action can make in creating and changing history -- and to honor those whose word is their promise."
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who attended that October 2002 rally, also appeared at the Friday event, as NBC Chicago reports, along with Ald. Joe Moore, anti-war activist Tom Hayden, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services head Julie Hamos and others.
According to ABC, a counter-protest of the rally was staged by the March 19th Anti-War Coalition who say that Obama should not be congratulated for they doubt that U.S. troops will not be leaving Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya anytime soon.