April 9 - U.S. President Barack Obama praises three of the soldiers killed at Fort Hood as heroes, telling their families ''no words are equal to their loss.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
U.S. President Barack Obama for the second time in five years attended a solemn memorial service on Wednesday (April 9) for victims of a tragic shooting at Fort Hood Army base. Standing before an estimated 3,000 people, including family members of the fallen and soldiers dressed in Army fatigues, Obama spoke at a podium where the combat helmet, rifle, boots and photos of each of the three victims of last week's attack were on display. "For you, the families, no words are equal to your loss.... You gave your sons to America, and just as you will honor them always, so, too, will the nation that they served." Obama said. The three killed were Daniel Ferguson, 39, of Mulberry, Fla.; Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez, 38, of Puerto Rico; and Timothy Owens, 37, of Effingham, Ill. Each had done tours of duty in Iraq. Obama went on to add that it was "love for their comrades" that defined the mens' last moments. "When the gunman tried to push his way into that room, Danny held the door shut, saving the lives of others while sacrificing his own. And it's said that Timothy -- the counselor, even then -- gave his life, walking toward the gunman, trying to calm him down," Obama said. Obama was accompanied at the service by his wife, Michelle, who has made caring for U.S. troops returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan a central theme of her White House tenure. It was a second appearance for Obama at a Fort Hood memorial service, putting him once again in the role of attempting to console console Americans who have endured repeated random, deadly shootings at schools, malls and elsewhere.