Dorine Kenney started the Jacob's Light Foundation after her son was killed. The charity helps keep soldiers serving in harm's way stocked with supplies and warm wishes from home.
Iraqi elections March 7 will be another major test of the country's democratic experiment.
Abu Mahdi al Mohandas is one of more than 6,000 candidates on the ballot in the Iraqi elections on March 7. But the Shiite politician, now hiding in Iran, says the US considers him a terrorist and a weapons supplier to Iraq militia groups.
A ban on hundreds of (mostly Sunni) candidates in Iraq was lifted Wednesday. The ban was reversed after senior Sunni politicians threatened to boycott the March 7 national election.
At least 49 people were killed and 230 wounded in the latest attack since US combat troops pulled back from Iraqi cities on June 30.
Tribal elders are reviving a traditional process to heal the deep animosities resulting from sectarian bloodshed between Shiites and Sunnis.
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq is expected to unveil a plan in May that it hopes will lead to a compromise over contentious land issues in oil-rich northern Iraq.
Five years after the US invasion, some see flickers of hope.