Soldiers attend a chemical light vigil held at the North Fort Hood training site Nov. 6, 2009, in remembrance of comrades and loved ones who were killed and wounded in the shooting tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, the previous afternoon.
U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tony M. Lindback
We commemorated Veterans Day remembering all the brave men and women who gave their lives in our wars -- so that we might be a free people today. War has been part our human experience since before the Bible was written -- and unfortunately it is still with us today.
So this week we want to recognize the spirit of courage and dedication that our military embodies. May our leaders always seek to make peace possible. This week also, we have another sad reason to keep our soldiers in mind: the tragedy at Fort Hood.
Our hearts go out to the families of the 13 men and women shot dead and to the 28 wounded yesterday, by one of their own brothers in arms. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and with all U.S. servicemen and women, who every day make great sacrifices so that the rest of us can live safely back at home.
As those soldiers went about their day at Fort Hood Texas, they were getting ready to ship out to Afghanistan – a posting they knew would put them in harms way. What they, and we, did not expect -- was that they would meet their deadliest enemy on an American Army base. And he would be one of their own comrades.
The horror and the unbearable sadness of this tragic loss of life touches all of us here in America. We know we have enemies, who hate our country, our actions and our influence around the globe. But for this deadly threat to appear from within our midst seems beyond understanding.
The suspect in the shootings, Major Nidal Malik Hasan is a Muslim, with Jordanian roots. He was born in the United States, raised in Virginia and trained as a psychiatrist. We know he worked with many war-traumatized soldiers. And we know many more details about Hasan will emerge in the coming days, as Americans struggle to comprehend the realities behind this terrible and unprecedented crime.
But for now we have more questions than answers.
It is human nature to look for a way to express our anger, fear and pain. What we must not do is jump to unsupported conclusions, or confuse everyone Middle Eastern or Muslim with the perpetrator, That would be allowing the crazy hatred that inspired this murderous attack to infect our thinking and behavior.
|"The arc of the moral universe is long – but it bends toward justice."|
After September 11, many Muslim people were afraid to go out because of the way they were singled out for hate. Can we learn? Can we make sure our streets feel safe for all innocent people? Can we carry on loving our neighbors as well as the victims and their families? Can we allow our military and civil justice systems to work.
It's at times like this we most need to recall the wisdom of our ancestors. During another time of crisis, Dr. Martin Luther King found consolation in the words of his teacher William Cullen Bryant: "The arc of the moral universe is long – but it bends toward justice."