'You Gave Your Sons to America': Obama Speaks to Families of Fallen Soldiers at Ft. Hood Memorial
At a memorial service in Fort Hood, Texas, President Obama joined the military and families of the fallen soldiers from last week’s shooting.
Sgt. First Class Daniel Ferguson, Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez and Sgt. Timothy Owens were killed after Spc. Ivan Lopez opened fire at Fort Hood on Wednesday. Lopez wounded 16 others before fatally shooting himself.
President Obama said, “It was love for the Army that made them the soldiers they were.”
He spoke directly to the parents, spouses and children of the fallen.
“We also draw strength from you, for even in your grief, even as your heart breaks, we see in you that eternal truth: love never ends.”
President Obama continued, “You gave your sons to America. And just as you will honor them always, so too will the nation that they served.”
To the men and women of Fort Hood, President Obama said we must honor the fallen with a renewed commitment to keeping troops safe, “not just in battle but on the home front as well.”
The president said that as a nation, we can do more to counsel those with mental health issues and to keep firearms out of their hands.
“As commander in chief, I’m determined that we will continue to step up our efforts to reach our troops and veterans who are hurting. To deliver to them the care that they need and to never stigmatize those who have the courage to seek help,” he said.
Lopez was reportedly being treated for depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. Military officials say he was involved in a “verbal altercation” concerning his request for leave before he went on the shooting rampage.
Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno said at the memorial service, “Anytime a soldier believes hurting oneself or others is a solution for the problems they face, we must ensure that the Army family is there for them to show them another way forward and to lift them from their despair.”
Watch President Obama and Gen. Odierno's remarks below: