Opinion: Small moments from Fort Hood’s memorial

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It’s hard to catalog all the moving moments and images from today’s memorial for the 13 people shot dead last week at Fort Hood in Texas and the dozens wounded, as investigations continued into Nidal Malik Hasan, the alleged shooter.

President Obama delivered remarks that were both somber and inspiring, using the ceremony to praise today’s military while honoring the victims of the shooting.

Other simple images stand out:

Soldiers, in fatigues, wiping away tears while listening to “Amazing Grace.”

The large color photographs of the dead.

The rifle volley.

The roll call of the dead -- and those chilling silences after each name was called and no response came back.

It was also one of the those events in American public life when religion somehow sits side by side with the secular. “Amazing Grace,” of course, contains the phrase, “How precious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed.”


Obama, in his remarks, asked, “May God bless the memory of those we lost.”

The ceremony began with Chaplin Michael Lemke asking for divine help to ‘sustain us in our sorrow and in time restore in us a spirit of join and hope.’

Later in the memorial, Lemke quoted from the Book of Isaiah. In a way, the words seem to describe not just the fallen, but the soldiers who must find strength to carry on:

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

-- Steve Padilla