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Until every one comes home | The Magazine of the USO

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After a detailed search, the Department of Defense released names of 78 troops who will be attending the February 29 White House dinner marking the end of the Iraq War.

But the most interesting thing about the event so far – titled “A Nation’s Gratitude” and hosted by President Barack Obama – may be the steps the DOD took to make it happen.

USA Today has a story about the filtering process the Pentagon executed to make sure every corner of America was seen in the faces of the service members attending the dinner.

“Old, young, male, female, gay, straight. We wanted the entire country represented,” Pentagon spokesman Doug Wilson told CNN’s Security Clearance blog. “That means all ranks, all branches of service, all races. We wanted it to look like the battlefield in Iraq.”

Read the full list of invitees here.