Ten years later: "Just like Yesterday" say Iraq Vets - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Ten years later: "Just like Yesterday" say Iraq Vets

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LENOIR, NC (WBTV) -

Staff Sgt. Bryon Blakemore says it was a defining moment in his life. "You look at yourself and find yourself."

Ten years after the start of the War in Iraq Blakemore and other veterans paused to remember what happened and those who never came home. "They should never be forgotten, never."

Blakemore is in the North Carolina National Guard 630th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

The unit is preparing to deploy to the Sinai Desert as peacekeepers in connection with the Camp David Peace Accords. Many of the soldiers have been deployed before to places like Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Tracy Avery had two deployments to the combat zone and remembers his time in convoys.

"We went all over Iraq," he said on Tuesday. The toughest challenge, he said, was identifying the enemy. "One day you would go by and they would wave at you and the next day you go by and they shoot at you."

Avery said he learned a lot in his experiences in Iraq. As to whether the war was worth it? Soldiers on Tuesday did not want to make a judgement on that. "Leave it to History," said one soldier.

One thing they want people to do, though, is keep the fallen soldiers in mind. During the war, a makeshift memorial was set up outside the PX at an airbase north of Baghdad.

The names of the fallen were written on the concrete pillar including the names of several North Carolina National Guard Soldiers who died.

With the United States Military out of Iraq no one is sure if the memorial is still there but that does not matter say the guard soldiers. "They are the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us and we will remember them," said Blakemore.

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