As the United States completes its withdrawal from Iraq, it is worth pausing to remember the determined peace activists who opposed the war from the start, including one who took up their cause and became president.

On Friday, some of them will gather in Chicago at the Federal Plaza, where in October 2002 Barack Obama, then a member of the Illinois Senate, stepped onto the stage to oppose the looming Iraq war. The plaza should be remembered as the place where the long march to peace began…

Some peace activists view the fact that thousands of advisors and contractors will remain in Iraq on the U.S. Embassy payroll as evidence of a secret plan to continue the war by other means. But the war is as over as a war can be, and the peace movement should celebrate. Removing troops from Iraq will save tens of billions of dollars a year, and it will also save lives.