These past few days, the last U.S. "combat" troops left Iraq.
From this area, five troops left Iraq in the past seven years because they died in Iraq.
The kid from Fort Mill never wanted to be anything but a soldier.
He turned into a sergeant, nicknamed "Ghostrider." He commanded an Army helicopter gunship. His name was Paul Neff II. He was first. He died in 2003, at 30, in Iraq.
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The commercial pilot from Rock Hill flew planes in peace and Army helicopters in war - when he wasn't taking care of a wife and five kids. He fought in two wars in Iraq, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.
His name was Pat Leach. He was 39 when he was killed in Iraq in 2004.
There was the kid who learned how to read in the first grade at Rock Hill's Richmond Drive Elementary School, the one who always wanted to be a cowboy. He became a Marine first. His name was Kenneth James Butler. He was 18 when he died in Iraq in 2005.
The guitar-playing kid from Chester wanted to be a doctor. He was a medic in the Army, and on Christmas Day 2006 he saved some of his fellow soldiers and even an Iraqi enemy combatant with his skill and valor.
He was killed the next day. His name was Logan Tinsley. He was 21.
The young lady and her twin sister left college to enlist in the same Army that their grandfather was in when he was a prisoner of war in Korea. She grew up in rural western Chester County, wearing pigtails and dresses and black patent leather shoes as little girls do. After she was killed in action in Iraq in 2007, she was buried in a church cemetery in rural western York County. Her name is Zandra Worthy-Walker. She was 28.
The troops that filed out of Iraq this week left 50,000 other U.S. troops still there, armed with guns and tanks and wearing Kevlar vests, in a country where bombs go off each day and people die.
Those troops left in Iraq do not carry baker's whisks. They carry machine guns. Those 50,000 men and women must be wondering what kind of troops they are if not combat troops.
So much has been made this week of the troop withdrawal. It doesn't matter what political party somebody is in, the war in Iraq started after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Men and women went to serve valiantly and die after a bogus claim that dictator Saddam Hussein had what has become part of the language - "weapons of mass destruction."
Hundreds of area National Guard troops, from armories in York and Lancaster counties, served in Iraq in the past seven years. Hundreds more from this area were there while fulfilling active duty deployments.
Iraq today is a country filled with bombs. A barely functioning government watched as the red tail-lights of the American troops' trucks rumbled over the border into Kuwait. They did not watch the dead leave. They already left.
Pat Leach's widow, Elizabeth Leach, sure wonders about the pullout and what is left in Iraq.
"If the country fails, what was it all worth?" asked this woman who is now raising three young kids alone.
Carl Butler III, brother of Kenneth James Butler, said he doesn't think much was accomplished in Iraq.
"It seems sometimes that it was all for nothing, all them boys dying," Carl Butler said. "What did we really do over there?"
Carlton "Buster" Butler II, Kenneth James Butler's father, said those troops left in Iraq are sure "combat" troops.
So are the 105 National Guard troops from Fort Mill, in Afghanistan right now, he said, so he keeps an American Flag flying on his truck, "until the last one comes home."
I asked Buster Butler why the troops were sent to Iraq.
"To free them, we were told," he said. "I sure hope that temporary government they got over there can handle it.
"I sure hope they didn't waste good lives - my son one of 'em - for nothin'. Time will tell, I guess."
In the lawn next to Richmond Drive Elementary School is a cherry tree planted in Kenneth James Butler's honor after he died.
That was five years ago. It was a sapling then.
The tree is now more than 12 feet tall.
Butler's grandparents, Carlton Butler Sr. and Cynthia Butler decorate the tree every holiday with ribbons.
Kids still go to school there at Richmond Drive and then walk home, just like Kenneth James Butler did in the first grade when he was in Lu Anne Cox's class.
"I still remember him," said Cox, a legendary teacher, now retired.
In that same class was a kid named Franklin Hunter. He is one of those 105 soldiers based in Fort Mill, now in Afghanistan.
Longtime beloved Richmond Drive music teacher Dave Cole taught Kenneth James Butler how to sing. He sure remembers Butler - the little kid who wanted to be a cowboy.
When school let out Friday, Cole walked with 11 kids down the sidewalk past the cherry tree planted by previous students five years ago.
The kids sported freckles, pigtails, smiles, glasses - some even held hands, as little kids will.
Under that tree is a small granite monument that states: "In memory of Kenneth James Butler, LCPL USMC, 1986-2005."
Cole stopped the group and gently, quietly, told the kids as he pointed at that monument:
"He was one of ours. He was just like you. He went to a war in Iraq. The troops left there this week. They are coming home. James Butler came home already."
After Cole led the kids away, they all went home. Some walked. A few met waiting parents. They leaped into parents' arms.
They went home just like the combat troops in Iraq who will soon come home.
Butler and Neff, and Worthy-Walker and Leach and Tinsley came home, too.
But they came home for funerals.