Obama honors 13 who fell in Fort Hood rampage

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - President Barack Obama led a memorial service at Fort Hood Army base in Texas for the people killed in last week's shooting rampage and to console their relatives and loved ones.

Obama said on Tuesday that America could not exist without brave men and women like the shooting rampage's victims. In prepared remarks, he singled out each of them.

He remembers the group as husbands and fathers, immigrants and scholars, optimists and veterans of the war in Iraq. He cited one woman who was pregnant when she was gunned down.

"These Americans did not die on a foreign field of battle," said Obama at the memorial service. "They were killed here, on American soil, in the heart of this great American community. It is this fact that makes the tragedy even more painful and even more incomprehensible.

Obama says all deserve to be honored as heroes.

At the front of the platform stood a row of battlefield crosses and the traditional tribute to a fallen soldier: pairs of boots, with a rifle protruding from them and a combat helmet resting atop the weapon. In front of each pair of boots was a photo of each victim.

Other victims who were injured in the shooting were on crutches, one was in a wheelchair. They were joined by victims' relatives as they made their way to the platform.

A military band played somber, patriotic music leading up to the ceremony.

The soldier suspected in the shootings, Maj. Nidal Hasan, that left 13 people dead and 29 wounded remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

Obama is blaming "twisted logic" for the killing of 13 men and women at Fort Hood. Soldiers reported that Hasan, who is Muslim, shouted the Arabic phrase for "God is Great" before opening fire.

"No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor," he said. "And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice in this world, and the next."

Obama says the United States endures because of those who defend it. He says the bravery of those who died there must be honored by remembering their contributions to their communities.

Accompanying Obama, spokesman Robert Gibbs called the ceremony "a very solemn event" and said Obama is proud to take part in "honoring these men and women so close to Veterans Day."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)