Ceremony marks anniversary of shootings

Nov. 6, 2010 at 12:18 PM

KILEEN, Texas, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- About 1,000 people attended a ceremony commemorating the one-year anniversary of the mass murders at Fort Hood in Texas.

At Friday's ceremony, Gen. William Grimsley, Fort Hood's commanding general, and Army secretary John McHugh presented awards to more than 50 soldiers and civilians for heroism during a shooting rampage that left 13 people dead, The Washington Post reported.

Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan has been charged with multiple accounts of murder in the shootings at the base on Nov. 5, 2009.

Officials also unveiled a 6-foot granite memorial bearing the names of the victims; it took its place next to the post's memorials to those killed in war -- more than 500 in the past five years.

Military officials focused their remarks on sacrifice and resilience, but others blamed the Department of Defense for not being aware of extremists in the military's ranks.

Hasan, a 40-year-old Army psychiatrist, had alarmed colleagues with talk of whether his patients could be prosecuted for war crimes. He reportedly sent more than a dozen e-mails in the months ahead of the shooting to radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen now targeted for assassination by the United States government.

In a statement Thursday, Sens. Joseph Lieberman, Ind-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, said "the attack could have been prevented if the government acted on information in its possession." Collins and Lieberman head the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

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