President Obama's announcement that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year is getting mixed reviews.
If the president's promise holds true, celebratory scenes like a recent homecoming in Baltimore for U.S. troops returning from Iraq, will become more frequent as the year draws to a close.
Some of the troops had been away for more than a year, with many being on their third or fourth deployment.
On the West Coast, military families are looking forward to having loved ones home.
"I was pretty happy. Think we need to get out of there," San Diego resident Juan Gaucin, father of a Marine, said.
Some, however, are cautiously optimistic and wary of politics.
"I like bringing my friends home alive, but we don't like seeing kids die over there either," Marine Cpl. Aaron Dove said.
Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates have serious reservations about pulling out the remaining 39,000 U.S. troops from Iraq.
"You don't tell the enemy your timetable, what your timetable's going to be," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.
"This administration has telegraphed its intentions all too often, and that's just not acceptable," he said.
Some of the toughest words came from presidential candidate Newt Gingrich at Sunday's Faith and Freedom Coalition in Iowa.
"After eight years, thousands of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars, we will leave in defeat," the former House speaker said. "Don't kid yourself, it is defeat. Iran is stronger."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was also critical of the president's decision.
"It's a serious mistake," he told ABC's "This Week." "I believe we could have negotiated an agreement, and I'm very, very concerned about increased Iranian influence in Iraq."
Despite the criticism, the president is standing by his decision.
"In Iraq, we've succeeded in our strategy to end the war," he said.
The cost of more than eight years of war in Iraq has taken a toll on the country. Battles have taken the lives of 4,400 U.S. military service members. Another 32,000 were wounded.
The war has also cost U.S. taxpayers $704 billion, as of July this year.