President George W. Bush delivers his "Mission Accomplished" speech on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. Controversially, the President declared in the speech that "In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."
The Abraham Lincoln was on its way back to the United States after a successful ten year combat deployment in the Persian Gulf. President Bush flew onto the aircraft carrier as a passenger in a S-3 Lighting, becoming the first President to do so. After meeting with some of the aircraft carrier personnel, President Bush addressed the nation in a televised speech in which he announced the end of combat operations in Iraq. Above his head during the speech a large red, white and blue marquee emblazoned with "Mission Accomplished" hung from the Abraham Lincoln's command tower.
After the speech, the sign quickly drew the ire of political pundits. While White House staffers purged any mention of "mission accomplished" from the actual speech, the meaning of the sign was a source of contention. The White House claimed the Navy wanted the sign to celebrate the end of Abraham Lincoln's deployment; the Navy claimed the White House requested the sign.
The Iraq War would continue for more than eight more years.
On May 1st, 2011, exactly eight years to the day from the "Mission Accomplished" speech, President Barack Obama addressed the nation to announce the death of Osama bin Laden.