At Fort Hood Area, A Day Of Reflection
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
We learned a little more over the weekend about the victims of a shooting at Fort Hood. One of the military personnel who was killed was a 19-year-old Eagle Scout. One was a pregnant soldier, just back from Iraq. One was preparing to go overseas at the age of 51 and lead a mental health team in a war zone. We also learned something about the survivors. Military families reached out to each other at the base in Killeen, Texas, after a gunman opened fire at a readiness center.
NPR's Jeff Brady reports.
JEFF BRADY: At Memorial Baptist Church in Killeen, the Sunday service had a distinctly patriotic feel.
(Soundbite of song, �The Battle Hymn of the Republic�)
Unidentified Group: (Singing) Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
BRADY: As Pastor Ken Cavey stood up, an American flag was displayed on a huge screen behind him.
Pastor KEN CAVEY (Memorial Baptist Church, Killeen): Thursday will be etched in our minds and our hearts forever. But we move on, we move past it in victory with the power and the strength of Lord Jesus Christ.
BRADY: For some, spiritual comfort was important. For others, their needs were more basic.
Unidentified Woman #1: I was hoping to cook a meal.
Unidentified Woman #2: (unintelligible)
Unidentified Woman #1: I did a meal.
Unidentified Woman #3: You did a wonderful meal. Thank you very much.
BRADY: Denise Chaviasky(ph) was one of the military spouses who showed up at a conference room at Fort Hood with food.
Ms. DENISE CHAVIASKY: This is fried chicken, potatoes, vegetables and cookies.
BRADY: Chaviasky's husband, Scott, will soon be deployed to Iraq for the fourth time. She says on Sunday morning, his commander's wife called, asking if she could bring food for families of the victims. She volunteered gladly.
Ms. CHAVIASKY: Because if it was my husband, I would like someone else to stand up and help and let me know that there's support and that I'm not alone out there.
BRADY: An hour later, some of the donated food ended up at the Howard family's house. Sergeant Alvin Howard was shot in the shoulder Thursday. He's recovering in the hospital. Nine-year-old Alana Howard(ph) talked about a recent visit to see her dad.
Ms. ALANA HOWARD: We hugged him and gave him a kiss in the cheek.
BRADY: Then Alana looked at her younger sister.
Ms. HOWARD: She started crying when we went to the hospital, because she never seen our dad bandaged up like that.
BRADY: Sergeant Howard's wife, Kinesia(ph), says the food means a lot to her, but just a few days on, she's still having a difficult time.
Ms. KINESIA HOWARD: His unit has been very supportive. The care team and everybody has been very helpful, and I just want to say thank you all and my prayers goes out to the families that lost their loved ones. Yeah.
BRADY: With photographers' cameras clicking away, Kinesia begins to cry. There have been a lot of questions about the alleged shooter, Nidal Hasan. The Army says he's in critical condition. He was taken down by four gunshot wounds the day of the shooting. On Saturday, he was removed from a ventilator. The Army won't say whether he's talking to investigators. But they're clearly looking for every possible clue about his background, searching his home and talking to the people at his mosque in Killeen. The FBI and other agencies have conducted about 170 interviews so far. About Hasan's history, he reportedly was not happy with the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was dreading a scheduled deployment at the end of this month.
But his boss at Fort Hood said he was a good psychiatrist and a valued member of her team. His imam in Killeen said Hasan attended prayers Thursday morning, just hours before the shooting. Army Chief of Staff General George Casey, speaking on ABC, warned against guessing what the gunman's motives were.
General GEORGE CASEY (Chief of Staff, U.S. Army): I think the speculation could potentially heighten backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers. And what happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.
BRADY: Meantime, on Fox News, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman said he intends to launch a congressional investigation to determine whether the Fort Hood shootings should be considered a terrorist attack.
Jeff Brady, NPR News, Killeen, Texas.