The war in Iraq began on March 20, 2003, and ended on Dec. 15. Here’s a look at some of the key events of the war.

The war in Iraq began on March 20, 2003, and ended on Dec. 15. Here’s a look at some of the key events of the war:


March 20, 2003: President George W. Bush addresses the nation and says that the war “to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger" has begun.


April 9, 2003: The statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad is toppled, effectively marking the end of the regime. A photo of the toppling is one of the most iconic from the war.


May 1, 2003: Bush gives his infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.


Oct. 2, 2003: The CIA says that it did not find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. WMDs had been one of the major reasons for going to war.


Dec. 13, 2003: Saddam is captured in an underground hideout.


March 31, 2004: Four contractors from Blackwater are killed, and their bodies are hung from a bridge in Fallujah.


April 28, 2004: Photos from Abu Ghraid prison are released, causing an uproar around the world.


May 11, 2004: A video is released that shows American contractor Nicholas Berg being beheaded by Iraqi militants.


Sept. 7, 2004: The U.S. soldier death toll hits 1,000.


Nov. 2, 2004: Bush is re-elected as president.


Jan. 30, 2005: Iraqi citizens vote for the first time in almost 50 years.


Aug. 7, 2005: War protester Cindy Sheehan begins camping out at Bush’s ranch in Texas.


Oct. 26, 2005: The U.S. death toll reaches 2,000.


June 8, 2006: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, is killed by a U.S. airstrike.


Nov. 5, 2006: Saddam is sentenced to death.


Nov. 8, 2006: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigns.


Dec. 30, 2006: Saddam is killed by hanging.


January 2007: Bush announces a “surge” and deploys 20,000 extra troops to Iraq (ultimately it’s 30,000 more).


Feb. 18, 2007: An investigative report by the Washington Post finds that conditions are deplorable at Walter Reed, where returning soldiers go for treatment.


April 26, 2007: Bush’s approval rating is 28 percent, the lowest at any point of his presidency.


June 7, 2007: The U.S. military death toll reaches 3,500.


Nov. 5, 2008: Barack Obama is elected president. One of his campaign promises is to end the war in Iraq.


Nov. 27, 2008: The Iraq government OKs a U.S. deal to withdraw troops by Dec. 31, 2011.


Feb. 27, 2009: Obama approves a plan to have two-thirds of U.S. troops out of Iraq by August 2010.


August 2011: No U.S. troops are killed in this month, making it the first casualty-free month since the war began.


Dec. 15, 2011: The U.S. war in Iraq officially ends.


Dec. 18, 2011: The last U.S. troops leave Iraq. The final death toll for the U.S. is 4,500.


Sources: CNN, Think Progress, Wikipedia