Iraq War Ends, Mother Still Feels Loss

Operation Iraqi Freedom officially ended Thursday, Dec. 15

Lisa Anderson’s daily life had to move past the personal tragedy she faced in 2004 when her oldest son Marine LCpl Nicholas Anderson was killed in action in Iraq.

But even from her Ventura job booking charter tours on the Channel Islands, the pain is never quite gone.

The U.S. officially ended its part in the Iraq war Thursday. Flags returned to our shores, speeches were made reflecting and recollecting on the nearly nine years of bloody combat to mark its end.

There were plenty of numbers to consider, too.

There were 4,483 casualites, 53 this year alone as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom. And the cost of nine years overseas is said to be $800 billion, maybe a trillion by some experts’ estimates.

However, the real toll on families is measured in scenes like the funeral procession of Army Spc. Nicholas Steinbacher of La Crescenta in 2006, where residents with flags lined the streets in tribute.

NBC4 reached out to Steinbacher’s father who, still emotional, said an on-camera interview would have been too much to bear.

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Lisa Anderson could relate to the grieving father. She said she still cries, sometimes unexpectedly, when something triggers her memory.

“I can’t help but look at my children and they look just like their brother,” she said.

“There’s a part of us that is gone and we don’t expect people to understand,” Anderson continued. “We just don’t want them to forget.”

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