Sunday, September 22, 2013

Memorial Service Honors Washington Navy Yard Victims

Karen Parrish at the American Forces Press Service offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2013 - President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel were among the national leaders who gathered today for a memorial service honoring those killed in the Sept. 16 shootings at the Washington Navy Yard.

Hagel offered his deepest sympathy to the families in attendance, "on behalf of the more than 3 million men and women of the Department of Defense serving across the nation and all over the world." The military family's thoughts and prayers are with their families, the secretary told them.

"Today we come together ... to begin a long road of healing and recovery," Hagel said. "It is a path we walk together. We walk with the families, all who loved the fallen, to help ease the pain, hoping that grief and sadness will one day end and cherished memories of those we loved so much will take their place."

The secretary said the department also walks beside "those injured and scarred by this senseless act of violence to help them regain their strength, hoping the horrors of last Monday will soon recede and together we will recover."

Every member of the department will remember the valor of the Navy Yard personnel, Hagel said, "and we will remember that in the face of tragedy, the United States Navy is once again responding with resolve."

The president told the families of the Navy Yard victims that the nation cannot begin to comprehend their loss.

"We know that no words we offer today are equal to the magnitude, to the depths, of that loss," Obama said. "But we come together as a grateful nation to honor your loved ones, to grieve with you, and to offer, as best we can, some solace and some comfort."

The 12 lives lost at the Navy Yard are not statistics, Obama said. "They are the lives that have been taken from us," he added.

Killed in the attack were:

-- Michael Arnold, 59, of Lorton, Va.

-- Sylvia Frasier, 53, of Waldorf, Md.

-- Kathy Gaarde, 62, of Woodbridge, Va.

-- John Roger Johnson, 73, of Derwood, Md.

-- Frank Kohler, 50, of Tall Timbers, Md.

-- Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46, of Waldorf, Md.

-- Vishnu Shalchendia Pandit, 61, of North Potomac, Md.

-- Arthur Daniels, 51, of Washington.

-- Mary Francis Knight, 51, of Reston, Va.

-- Gerald L. Read, 58, of Alexandria, Va.

-- Martin Bodrog, 54, of Annandale, Va.

-- Richard Michael Ridgell, 52, of Westminster, Md.

Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist who is alleged to have been the shooter, was killed in a gun battle with police.

Note: Vice Adm. William Hilarides, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, renders a hand salute at the Marine Barracks during a memorial service at the Marine Barracks for the victims of the Washington Navy Yard shooting. The U.S. Navy photo was taken by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stuart Phillips.

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