PHOENIX - On the day the last U.S. soldiers left Iraq, marking an end to the conflict, high-fives and jubilation filled a party in Phoenix.
The American Veterans Post 65 threw a "Welcome Home" celebration and free concert, Sunday. The event was in honor of the troops now returning from the nearly 9-year long war.
The Loose Cannons Blues Band performed for the happy crowd. Many call the war's end a well-deserved, early Christmas present.
The festivities were not just to thank all of the heroes coming home, but also to honor everyone who did not make it home.
Nearly 4,500 U.S. Armed Forces members died in the Iraq War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, since the conflict began in 2003. About 100 of those killed were Arizonans.
United States' tax payers have spent more than $800 billion on the war in Iraq.
The event was taking donations from those who were in attendance. Party organizers say the money will go to programs that support U.S. veterans.