Arlington, Va. Perhaps no place illustrates the toll of the Iraq war more vividly than Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery. In this "garden of stone," in ruler-straight rows, rest one-tenth of the Iraq war's American dead, whose number has reached 3,000.
Privates lie beside officers. Soldiers beside Marines. Muslim troops beside Christians and those of other faiths.
Many were seasoned veterans, but most - 60 percent - never reached age 25.
Some died in fierce battles, trading bullets and rockets with a flesh-and-blood foe. But as the insurgency gained momentum in the past year, almost half of the servicemen and women fell to a faceless enemy, victims of remote-detonated IEDs, improvised explosive devices.
Each branch of service is represented here, though the Army has taken two-thirds of the Iraq war losses.
There are other grim statistics: More than two dozen fell at age 18; 62 were women; nearly one-quarter of those who died came from just three states, California, Texas and New York, according to casualty figures, which also show recent monthly death totals climbing to levels not seen since the war's early days.
The grim milestone was crossed on the final day of 2006 and at the end of the deadliest month for the American military in Iraq in the past 12 months. At least 111 U.S. service members were reported to have died in December. That brought the toll of U.S. military deaths in Iraq to at least 820 in 2006, according to the AP count.
The milestone was reached following the announcement Sunday of two additional deaths.
The White House said the president mourned each death but would not issue a statement about the 3,000th.
One soldier was killed Saturday in a roadside bombing in the capital, the military said. The soldier's name and unit were not given.
The Department of Defense said on its Web site that another soldier died Thursday and identified him as Spc. Dustin R. Donica, 22, of Spring, Texas. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
In his New Year's greeting, President Bush noted the continuing violence in Iraq.
"Last year, America continued its mission to fight and win the war on terror and promote liberty as an alternative to tyranny and despair," Bush said in the statement wishing Americans a happy new year.
"In the New Year, we will remain on the offensive against the enemies of freedom, advance the security of our country, and work toward a free and unified Iraq. Defeating terrorists and extremists is the challenge of our time, and we will answer history's call with confidence and fight for liberty without wavering."