CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Nevada Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, who served as a Marine, was in Afghanistan on a combat mission from 2004 to 2005.
Thursday night, his service won him a spot on the stage at the Democratic National Convention as the party paid tribute to the nation’s veterans and to President Barack Obama’s military successes as commander-in-chief.
Anderson, 29, represents Las Vegas and said he was honored to stand with other men and women who had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But it was a reunion of sorts as well.
He got to stand next to John Estrada, the former sergeant major of the Marine Corps when Anderson was in the Marines.
“It was great to stand up there next to the guy who was at the top of the food chain,” he said.
Obama ended the Iraq War, and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed by the U.S. military, under the president’s watch after a decade of searching following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Anderson said he was proud to be a Democrat in the Obama era.
“It’s exciting to see our party claim the mantle of being the party of veterans,” he said.
In contrast, Anderson said he was surprised veterans, the U.S. military and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t a focus of the Republican National Convention. The omission prompted criticism of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“I was pretty shocked,” Anderson said.
Contact reporter Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj.