Today we are a country in mourning.
And Veteran's Day this year will dawn in the haze of tragedy that surrounds senseless death.
The unthinkable happened Thursday at a place where our American soldiers should be most protected, most secure. One civilian and 12 service personnel were shot to death as the soldiers readied or returned from serving their country overseas. Thirty were wounded, many shot multiple times.
The perpetrator? One of our own, a U.S. Army officer whose country had given him shelter, an unparalleled education and years of training, asking only that he serve as he agreed to do.
Instead of deploying as thousands through the generations have done before him, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan first tried to wiggle his way out of harm's way and then, instead of facing an armed enemy, opened fire on defenseless comrades at Fort Hood before being taken down by a courageous civilian police woman who was wounded during an exchange of gunfire.
We hail the actions of Sgt. Kimberly Munley and we pray for her quick recovery as we do for the recovery of all the men and women wounded Thursday.
Our thoughts are also with the silent heroes, those whose efforts in the aftermath saved lives - including the life of Maj. Hasan.
According to the Washington Post, an officer used his belt to apply a tourniquet as Sgt. Munley lay wounded after shooting Hasan four times as he re-loaded his weapon.
Medics also began to treat Maj. Hasan and he was among the badly injured prioritized to be flown by helicopter to area hospitals.
Numerous soldiers, meanwhile, including some who had been shot themself, tended to the wounded, tearing uniforms to make makeshift bandages, and loading the injured into cars that rushed to the hospital.
Americans always - always - rally on the battlefield, no matter where they find it.
So when the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month chimes, Veterans Day 2009 will break through as another day of honor for our service men and women.
Our enemies, both here and abroad, may hurt us, may dishearten us, may make us grieve, but they will never - never - beat us.
Not as long as we have men and women willing to step into harm's way, to fight back, for America, and for us all.
Pray for the dead, remember the fallen, and honor the living this Veterans Day. We shall be ever grateful for their service.
- Observer editorial