Obama praises those who ended violence

November 11, 2009 12:51:54 PM PST
President Barack Obama said Saturday that the training designed to keep U.S. forces safe abroad prevented further deaths and ended the rampage at Fort Hood. [PHOTOS: Images from Thursday's tragic shooting at Ft. Hood]
[MAP: Ft. Hood in Killeen]
[MASS SHOOTINGS: Timline of mass shootings in the U.S.]

He praised those who serve or have served in uniform and reminded the public of their diversity -- a move designed to calm tensions around the suspected shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.

"They are Americans of every race, faith and station. They are Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers," Obama said in his radio and Internet address, airing the weekend before Veterans Day.

"They are descendants of immigrants and immigrants themselves. They reflect the diversity that makes this America. But what they share is a patriotism like no other."

After the address aired, Obama talked about the Fort Hood shootings with Democratic House members. On Capitol Hill Saturday for a closed-door meeting on health care, Obama opened his remarks by speaking about Fort Hood, participants said.

He told lawmakers that the hardships members of the military make for the country "is what sacrifice really is," according to Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., as opposed to "casting a vote that might lose an election for you."

The president asked for patience while officials piece together what happened Thursday in Texas at the nation's largest Army post. The shootings left 13 dead and 30 others wounded.

"We cannot fully know what leads a man to do such a thing," Obama said. "But what we do know is that our thoughts are with every one of the men and women who were injured at Fort Hood. Our thoughts are with all the families who've lost a loved one in this national tragedy."

But Obama said while "we saw the worst of human nature on full display, we also saw the best of America."

"We saw soldiers and civilians alike rushing to aid fallen comrades, tearing off bullet-riddled clothes to treat the injured, using blouses as tourniquets, taking down the shooter even as they bore wounds themselves," Obama said.

"We saw soldiers bringing to bear on our own soil the skills they had been trained to use abroad -- skills that been honed through years of determined effort for one purpose and one purpose only: to protect and defend the United States of America."

The White House said Obama would attend a memorial service Tuesday at Fort Hood.

Obama stuck to health care and did not mention Fort Hood in remarks to reporters in the Rose Garden before departing to the presidential retreat at Camp David for a night away from Washington. He is to leave Wednesday for a 10-day trip to Asia.

  • Complete coverage of the Fort Hood shooting rampage
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