Kiel: Hundreds of people lining the main street of an Indiana town on Saturday fell solemnly silent as the white hearse passed. Mourners waited for hours outside a Wisconsin gymnasium to say goodbye to a soldier who once promised to take down Osama bin Laden.
And in Oklahoma, a newlywed grieved for her husband of nearly three months.
Several victims of the November 5 shooting massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, were laid to rest on Saturday across the country, after family members, friends, fellow soldiers and strangers passed their flag-draped coffins and paid their respects.
In Plymouth, Ind, Sheila Ellabarger had placed two foot-high American flags in the grass where she watched the procession for US Army Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow. She said her children went to school with DeCrow and his wife — his high school sweetheart — and she knew others in his family.
"He was killed by a terrorist in my mind but he was still killed in the line of duty. We owe him a debt of gratitude, him and his family and the other soldiers. We owe them our lives, our freedom," Ellabarger said.
During services in Norman, Okla, images of Army Spc Jason Dean Hunt and his beaming wife were shown on a screen. The recently married 22-year-old was described as a loving husband and family man as well as a soldier who left a legacy of selflessness and service.
"We may never find out the reason for what occurred on that fateful day at Fort Hood, Texas," said Brigadier General Ross Ridge, of Fort Sill, Okla. "The military community are all grieving here today over the loss of this dedicated soldier."
Hunt was among the 13 people who were killed at Fort Hood, where authorities allege Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at the processing centre. Hasan, 39, has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in a military court.
Army investigators have said he is the only suspect in the case and could face additional charges. His attorney has said prosecutors have not yet told him whether they plan to seek the death penalty.
On the Texas post that the fallen soldiers once called home, officials continued with their plans for deployment.
The processing centre, where troops who are about to be deployed or who are returning undergo medical screening, has been up and running. Also the units that had soldiers who were either killed or wounded in the shooting are still set to go to Afghanistan in the coming months.
First Published: Sunday, November 15, 2009, 11:03