At the memorial service for the victims of last week’s shooting at Ft. Hood, TX, President Obama not only paid tribute to the fallen, but also placed their service to the country in the context of history. Obama said, “The stories of those at Fort Hood reaffirm the core values that we are fighting for, and the strength that we must draw upon.”
The president made some brief remarks about each of the 13 victims and said, “But here is what you must also know: your loved ones endure through the life of our nation. Their memory will be honored in the places they lived and by the people they touched. Their life’s work is our security, and the freedom that we too often take for granted. Every evening that the sun sets on a tranquil town; every dawn that a flag is unfurled; every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – that is their legacy.”
He talked about the shooting itself, “It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know – no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice – in this world, and the next.”
The president also spoke about the broader challenge of terrorism, “These are trying times for our country. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the same extremists who killed nearly 3,000 Americans continue to endanger America, our allies, and innocent Afghans and Pakistanis. In Iraq, we are working to bring a war to a successful end, as there are still those who would deny the Iraqi people the future that Americans and Iraqis have sacrificed so much for.”
Obama talked about this generation of soldiers, “As we face these challenges, the stories of those at Fort Hood reaffirm the core values that we are fighting for, and the strength that we must draw upon. Theirs are tales of American men and women answering an extraordinary call – the call to serve their comrades, their communities, and their country. In an age of selfishness, they embody responsibility. In an era of division, they call upon us to come together. In a time of cynicism, they remind us of who we are as Americans.”
He spoke about this generation’s future legacy, “Long after they are laid to rest – when the fighting has finished, and our nation has endured; when today’s servicemen and women are veterans, and their children have grown – it will be said of this generation that they believed under the most trying of tests; that they persevered not just when it was easy, but when it was hard; and that they paid the price and bore the burden to secure this nation, and stood up for the values that live in the hearts of all free peoples.”
Obama delivered a powerful and well balanced speech. Today Obama sounded like our Commander in Chief. He managed to talk about the real grief for the victims while putting their loved ones loss into a larger context. Obama has given lots of speeches as president, but this speech was moving. Healing national pain is one of the most important duties of a president, and Obama did an admirable job today.
Here are the president’s full remarks