April 9, 2014 -- SecArmy Remarks at Fort Hood Memorial Service
April 9, 2014
FORT HOOD, TEXAS -- Good Afternoon, Mr. President; Mrs. Obama; Sir, Ma'am, thank you so much for being here. It means so much to these Soldiers, to this Army that their Commander in Chief and First Lady would be here to share in this great sorrow. Deputy Secretary of Defense Fox; Chairmen and Mrs. Dempsey; Chief and Mrs. Odierno; distinguished members of Congress; Lt. Governor Dewhurst; Lt. Gen. and Mrs. Milley; and most of all to the men and women of Fort Hood -- Soldiers, family members, and civilians…our Army family.
We are here again far too soon to mourn more loss all too great.
As an Army, we accept this is a dangerous profession, that all who wear this wonderful uniform and pledge to defend our nation and its way of life understand they may one day be called to make the ultimate sacrifice.
But inside these gates, behind these walls, we expect a much different order of things…a special sense of safety and security, a brotherhood… simply a sense of home.
And yet, for a second time, horrible violence and unspeakable tragedy have breeched these walls and torn through our very souls.
And once more, yet again, we come together to grieve and to remember, to console one another and to give what strength we possibly can to the victims and to their families.
Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ferguson, Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez, and Sgt. Timothy Owens all knew, lived with and accepted that inherent danger comes with being an American Soldier; each deployed at various times during the longest period of war in the history of this great nation.
That they came back, came back safely each and every time, only to lose their lives here at home a place of presumed safety serves to greatly magnify the senseless of it all.
Of course these men weren't just Soldiers -- they were so much more - they were comrades, they were friends, they were leaders, of course they were sons and husbands and fathers. They are rightly to be long remembered, mourned, and forever celebrated.
We still have much to learn about what happened here last week; but already, we've heard the stories of remarkable courage and extraordinary sacrifice, actions that kept moment horror from becoming even greater.
We may never know how many lives were saved -- or how many others might have been lost were it not for these heroes, but know this, we are incredibly grateful for their bravery and even more humbled by their selflessness.
One hundred and fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln penned a letter to a mother who had lost five sons during the Civil War.
The President said, "I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine at a time of grief (and) loss so overwhelming."
To the families of those we lost, to those recovering from their wounds, I truly wish I had the words that might begin to heal your heart, heal your bodies, or express fully the depth of our collective sadness.
Matthew chapter 5, verse 4, teaches that "blessed are they who mourn; for they shall be blessed."
Today, once again, we mourn together - together as a community, as an Army, and as a nation. Today, all days, we will celebrate these truly remarkable live, courageous and noble men taken from us far too soon.
And we hope and we pray that in some small way, together -- by our memories and through our collective heartache - we will bring some comfort to their families, friends and comrades-in-arms. They will be truly and always missed.
So thank you for joining us, God bless our fallen heroes, those still struggling toward recovery. God bless the United States of America and this glorious Army which keeps us free.