Maybe the mainstream media is covering the Memorial Service for the Fort Hood fallen, but I could not find it. So, I went online, and blinkotv dot com has the live CNN feed.
As this Memorial Service gets started, the body of Sgt. Kueger, an Army nurse, getting ready for her second deployment, is winding its way through the streets of her hometown in Wisconsin.
I am hearing a lot of the phrase "to make sure that this never happens again". This was jihad. This was terrorism. This major contacted other imam terrorists. But, the Army and FBI thought he was just doing research.
Will this be a witch hunt? Or, will they be looking for a scape goat? Who wanted to stick their neck out in this politically correct charged culture? Who saw the guy buying guns and also knew he had a radical islamic worldview? The guy had no friends. His tirades were irritating. He frequented strip joints. He lived in a cheap apartment in a building full of privates in the Army.
Tonight they will execute another terrorist, but I don't hear them calling John Allen Mohammed the DC sniper that. such irony. So, at the next shooting, when a terrorist takes out a dozen at a sporting event, or at a mall, or at concert---will we hold our authorities feet to the fire, and say, hey---you said you'd do everything to make sure this never happens again. Maybe we need to try something different. Like---looking at how these terrorists become radicalized. Islam is the problem. Islam is a failed worldview. Islam is a religion of death. hatred. terrorism.
Do we have any more like this major in the military? How will they go about finding them? In the meantime, arm the NCOs. Especially where crowds congregate. Mess halls, auditoriums, etc.
Lockdown drills have already begun at schools. Do we need one at church? Don't we need a plan?
We have become so used to these shootings, and yet, this memorial service should be available so that people can see the cost of not connecting the dots. Instead, most folks will see a brief mention of the service on the news, maybe. And more of whatall the president said than what happened.
I see John Cornyn in the crowd. Oh, John McCain. If he was president, we would not have to meet here today. The major was mad at Obama---he thought Obama was not keeping his promises. Irony there. And we would not have the stupid health care bill shoved down our throats either.
Wow---open to the public. Wide open gates. Cool. Obama should be nervous. Bet his detail preferred military only. But, that speaks of the openness and safety of our military posts, bases, and installations.
12:56pm---the families of the victims are filing in now to their saved seats. And the troops in the huge crowd---all those in uniform rise up in respect. There is Governor Perry. A warm, sunny day in Texas.
Switching over to the C-span coverage now. No more commentary.
The boots and rifle and helmet and picture of each soldier...all lined up in rows.
Lots of children with their families enter from the VIP section behind the huge flag. Sad moms and sisters. A sea of black berets. A three story high flag hanging from the top of the building as a back drop. A live Army band. America. America. Children scream. Babies cry when the music pauses.
Every president has the responsibility of speaking at tragedies. Teleprompters at the ready for this one.
Silence. More family members file out. Be Still My Soul...one verse. Silence. More family file out. The president is obviously meeting with each group before they can start the ceremony. The president has no concept of starting anything on time. Hope there is not a flyover. Everyone is still standing.
Suppose to start at 1pm. It is now 1:15pm. Hymns---the band plays Fairest Lord Jesus. I see a bagpiper at the wall beside the band. Silence. Babies cry. Blue sky. Puffy cotton ball clouds. People in the crowd fan themselves. I bet it is eighty degrees. Everyone sits. Those black berets have to be hot. No moderator? "ma-ma" a child says. It is night in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wonder if the troops are watching? I wonder what they think? And the families---will they hear anything or remember any of this?
1:30pm Silence between songs. Why no continuous music? Why the breaks? I am thankful the crowd has chairs. Uniformed soldiers on crutches---the families and walking wounded are coming down the steps under the flag. wow. The crowd rises in respect. Some wear slings. wow. Amazing to see them here. I spotted a Marine. Today is the Marine Corps Birthday. Wheel chair empty is carried down the steps as the wheel chair's uniformed soldier hops. A wounded uniformed soldier gets back in her wheelchair. Another in his. More family and uniformed policemen and firemen--the first responders come down the steps. Another soldier with an arm sling surrounded by his family. I guess they have all been shaking obama's hands. Maybe he bowed to them like he did the Saudi prince.
More injured soldiers on crutches hop down the steps, then one got into a wheelchair.
1:40pm Silence again. Just the murmur of the crowd. Bagpipes. Lots of them. Necks straining. The bagpipes sound like they are warming up. Loud cheering. Strange entrance for the Obamas. Are they Scottish? The National Anthem. Hand salutes. Hands over hearts. Flag at half-staff. Remain standing. And the Home of the Brave...
Army Third Corps Chaplain prays wearing a black sash on top of his uniform. Calling the victims by their first names.
General Cone: ...distinguished visitors...family and friends...we gather to mourn the loss...from eleven different states. Three women, ten men... (about Fort Hood) 545 lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. soldiers take care of each other. acts of bravery. remembering their training, lives were saved. First aid. forever linked...Nov. 5th...doing their duty. Live, work, serve as a team... First responders at the crime scene. remember. May our service be a tribute to them. (clapping)
Chief of Staff of the Army, General Casey: ...Admiral and Mrs. Mike Mullen... it is a tradition to go to the book of Isaiah---whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Send me. the voice, spirit of service...men and women who believed in the ideals this country stands for...newlyweds, sixty-somethings, it was a kick in the gut. a century of service. nineteen children, spouses, the calm leadership of the command, these have been uplifting if not heroic... I will always place the mission first...I will never quit, I will never leave a comrade behind. In every generation, when faced with difficult challenges... as we grieve, grieve with us, not for us. They freely answered the call to serve... Here am I, send me.
The President of the United States gets a little rock star shout from the gleeful parts of the crowd.
To the Fort Hood community, to ...Secretary Gates, ...we come together filled with sorrow... This is a time of war...they were killed here...in the heart of this great state... your loved ones endure through the life of this nation...their life's work is our security and the freedom we take for granted...their legacy...
Chief Cahill...even after having had a heart attack, back at work...
(named, with a brief story of each, and who survives them)
Specialist Jason Hunt, recently married, three children, re-enlisted on his 21st birthday...
Nurse Amy Kreuger---ready to take on osama herself.
musician, nurses, these men and women came from all parts of the country...some had known combat...their lives speak to the strength, dignity, decency... (stories of the wounded and the rescuers) It may be hard to understand...no faith justifies...the killer will be met with justice in this world and the next...these are trying times... (words about Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, 911) answering an extraordinary call...responsibility...division...come together...remind us of who we are as Americans. ... the courage of those who defend it... A nation of laws...guarantees the right to worship as one choses...we are a nation...all ...are created equal...we defend that truth.
Tomorrow is Veteran's Day...reflect on the sacrifices made ...of a more perfect union... honor the many generations that have served...this generation has more than proved...it is before our very eyes, this very generation have volunteered... (three ds---distant, difficult, d ) to protect our people. Giving others half a world away
no surrender to be signed...but the measure of these men and women is no less great. no borders...
Here at Fort Hood we pay tribute to thirteen ...when the fighting has finished...this generation believed...in perserverance...they paid the price...the values that live in all free peoples...
(end of Obama's speech---wow---who wrote that one!!!)
soloist: Amazing Grace. Hartley, it says on her tab on her uniform.
2:13pm ending prayer time? no. Isaiah 40 reading. ".....run, and not be wearing. walk and not faint." Oh, dear. he is going to preach. Col. Michael Lembke, Army Third Corps Chaplain. (c-span cuts out)
Blinkotv.com has it. I don't know what Chaplain Lembke's religion is, but I am guessing methodist, maybe presbyterian. The black sash may mean episcopian.
Roll call. Every other one does not answer...
"hear, sergeant major.." and silence. Is he calling the names of the wounded???
I would have left out the honor guard twenty-one gun salute. (three volleys, seven guns each)
Final honors to be rendered by family members. President and the first lady pausing in front of the pictures of each one. Leaving his coin. Commander in Chief coin. The first lady is wearing a black dress and white pearls. Hair in a bun. President and first lady exit up the steps alone.
Gerson (on CNN)---who wrote speeches for President Bush gives obama a thumbs up, and good thing for him to have mentioned them each by name. And accountability now and in eternity.
The slow salutes of honor. These families still have individual funerals to go through. But, the families are not alone. A uniformed soldier goes with them now. stays with them. Even when they break down by the picture of their loved one. The more formal looking green suit-cut uniform, (class A's?) I see a few of those with their cords and metals. Even a few on crutches come by to slow salute.