Fort Hood Ceremony Honors Victims of Mass Shooting

November 10, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle view the Fallen Soldier Memorial at Fort Hood on November 10, 2009 during a ceremony honoring the 13 people killed in a shooting rampage at the army base on November 5. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle view the Fallen Soldier Memorial at Fort Hood on November 10, 2009 during a ceremony honoring the 13 people killed in a shooting rampage at the army base on November 5. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama joined over 15,000 military personnel in a Nov. 10 memorial service honoring the 13 who were killed in last week's rampage at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.

Alleged gunman Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on Nov. 5 in the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where military personnel were receiving medical examinations before being deployed. Thirteen people were killed and 42 injured before civilian police shot Hasan, an Army psychiatrist.

Hasan is currently hospitalized in an Army hospital in San Antonio in stable condition and is facing charges in military court. The shooting was recorded as the nation's worst shooting on a military installation.

In front of 13 pairs of boots, rifles, helmets, and photographs, Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, the commanding general of Fort Hood began the ceremony.

The post has lost 545 soldiers to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, "but we never expected to pay such a high price at home," said Cone.

"The nature of our business demands that we rise above the fear and doubt generated by events such as this," said Cone. "As we remember the victims who died here at Fort Hood, may our service be a tribute to each of them."

In a somber speech, one by one, Obama mentioned the names and the stories of each of the 13 slain in the shooting rampage and pronounced that their killer will be "met with justice in this world and the next."

The victims came from all parts of the country and "their lives speak to the strength, the dignity, the decency of those who serve, and that’s how they will be remembered," said Obama, who also stressed the unity the armed forces have demonstrated.

"It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy but this we do know. No faith justified these murderous and craven acts. No loving God looks upon them in favor," said Obama. "The killer will be met with justice in this world and the next."

Obama however did not mention Hasan by name.

Missed Warnings

The memorial was performed while questions continued to loom regarding whether or not the military had failed to spot warning signs that could have helped prevent the incident.

After spending years counseling wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, Hasan was transferred to Fort Hood in July and was scheduled to be deployed into Afghanistan.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Hasan had “communicated 10 to 20 times with a radical Islamic in Yemen,” Anwar al-Awlaki—an anti-American cleric who praised the killings on Monday.

According to the Pentagon, it was not informed of emails intercepted by intelligence agencies between Hasan and an extremist cleric, as part of efforts by the National Security Agency to monitor communications of suspected Islamic extremists.

Communication between Hasan and al-Awlaki continued into 2009. However, authorities decided that the writings conformed largely to academic writing and did not warrant an investigation.

In a medical presentation at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007, Hasan warned that to avoid "adverse events," the military should release Muslim soldiers as conscientious objectors to the war rather than having them fight against other Muslims.

According to a copy of the presentation obtained by the Washington Post, Hasan was supposed to make a presentation on a medical topic of his choice. Instead, he lectured about Islam, suicide bombers, and threats the military could encounter from Muslims who are forced to fight against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims," said Hasan in the presentation obtained by the Washington Post.

In August 2009, Hasan purchased the two firearms he used in the attack.

Investigators tried to interview Hasan on Sunday, but he refused to answer questions and requested a lawyer. However, investigators declined to speculate on Hasan's motive.

According to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, all national and homeland security agencies were ordered to review Hasan's case to see if they had missed any warning signs.

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