Community members have mixed reactions to the end of war in Iraq

Eight years, eight months and 26 days after the war in Iraq begun, the United States has declared an end to its presence in the former dictatorship.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made it official at a ceremony in Baghdad Thursday.

More than one million American troops have served in Iraq since 2003, more than 4,400 have been killed, 30,000 wounded and more than one trillion dollars spent.

Panetta stepped off his military plane in Baghdad as the leader of America's war in Iraq, but will leave as one of many top U.S. and global officials who hope to work with the struggling nation as it tries to find its new place in the Middle East and the broader world.

Bombings and gun battles are still common. And experts are concerned about the Iraqi security force's ability to defend the nation against foreign threats.

People living in the Tri-state have differing opinions when it comes to President Barack Obama's decision to remove troops all together from the country.

"I think it's a great thing, he's doing what he promised, he's taken the step forward and really really boning up on what he said that he was going to do," says Tim Stevenson of Clifton.

"I think it's a bad decision because you know something bad might happen down the line so I got mixed feelings on it but pulling them out now is kind of an iffy mistake," says Reese Lofland of Florence.

Keith Maupin knows too well the horrors of war. His son SSG Matt Maupin was captured in Iraq on April 9, 2004. His remains were recovered more than four years later on March 21, 2008.

Since then Maupin has started the Yellow Ribbon Support Center to collect donations and items to send to troops overseas.

"We're going to do this until people quit supporting us or they all come home," says Maupin.

Maupin believes it is time to end the war but he thinks it should have ended sooner to save lives.

"For me and 14 others in Clermont county it was way too long because that's how many we lost from Clermont county," says Maupin.

"They'll remember it forever I mean I won't forget, I left a lot over there and I never hit the ground."

Copyright FOX19 2011. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.