Today, Mark Udall released the following statement after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta formally shut down the U.S. military mission in Iraq .
"First, it's important that we all reflect on the sacrifices made by the brave soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who were killed and wounded in action over the course of eight difficult years. These brave men and women are always in our thoughts and we honor their service. Today is a reminder that we must rededicate ourselves as a nation to providing those who have served in uniform and their families with the services and benefits they have earned. As someone who opposed the war in 2003, I have decidedly mixed emotions about the official end of our military mission in Iraq . But as we move forward, it's imperative that the United States have a strong diplomatic presence as the Iraqis take responsibility for securing their own country."