Local elected officials and community members joined together at a candlelight vigil in Westchester Friday, May 2nd, to honor the U.S. military personnel who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to call for an end to the military occupation in Iraq.

The “Bring Our Troops Home Mission to be Accomplished Vigil” at the Westchester Christian Church, 8740 La Tijera Blvd., was held to commemorate the five-year anniversary of President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” announcement aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Congresswoman Maxine Waters were the keynote speakers at the vigil.

The event was co-hosted by the LAX Area Democratic Club, 53rd Assembly District Democratic Congress, and the Democratic Clubs of Westchester, Lawndale, San Pedro and West Los Angeles.

Among the supporters at the event was Lawndale resident and president of the Lawndale Democratic Club Tina McKinnor, whose son now attends the Air Force Academy. As a military mother, McKinnor said she recalls vividly when her son enlisted one year ago.

“While my son is ready and willing to serve his country in combat, he didn’t join for the sake of fighting the War in Iraq,” said McKinnor, adding that her son’s dream is to be an aircraft mechanic. McKinnor lit a candle at the vigil in honor of her son.

President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” statement referred to an end of major combat in Iraq in 2003. Five years later, more than 4,000 American troops have died and over 29,000 have been wounded.

At the vigil, Waters and Rosen-dahl, a Vietnam War-era veteran, urged the president and Congress to bring American troops home as soon as possible.

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