For the second time in five years, President Obama came to Ft. Hood today to offer words of respect for soldiers gunned down on the sprawling post, and to talk about the strength and sacrifice of America's Army, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"We are here on behalf of the American people to honor your loved ones, and offer what comfort we can," the President told the formal memorial service for three soldiers who were killed by a fellow serviceman at Ft. Hood one week ago today. The President never mentioned or referenced Specialist Ivan Lopez, the gunman who took his own life.
"Part of what makes this so painful is that we've been here before, and the tragedy rubbed raw a wound less than five years old," he said.
The President spoke for about 12 minutes, after the crowd had been told that the second of the four soldiers still in the hospital was released this morning.
The President also discussed the importance of helping all Americans suffering from mental illness, whether miltiary or civilian.
"As commander in chief I'm determined that we will continue to step up our efforts to help troops in need of mental health care," Mr. Obama said.
The crowd then rose for benediction and a 21 gun salute, followed by Taps.
Also speaking were Army Chief of State Gen. Raymond Odierno, Ft. Hood commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley.
It is the first of several appearances the President will make in Texas Wednesday and Thursday. He will headline fundraisers tonight in Houston for Democrats running for Congress, and tomorrow Mr. Obama will appeal in Austin for celebrations at the LBJ Library marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.