President Obama issued a directive ordering all federal facilities to fly the national flag at half-staff from now until Veterans Day (November 11), to honor the soldiers and civilians felled at Fort Hood, Texas.
“It is an act of violence that would have been heartbreaking had it occurred anyplace in America,” Obama said. “It is a crime that would have horrified us had its victims been Americans of any background. But it’s all the more heartbreaking and all the more despicable because of the place where it occurred and the patriots who were its victims.”
The president said he met Friday with FBI Director Robert Mueller, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others to discuss their continuing investigation into the attack, which also injured at least 30.
Obama also expressed his condolences to the victims’ families and recognized those who helped the wounded after the shooting at the base’s Soldier Readiness Processing Center. The center is where soldiers go to have their teeth checked and medical records updated before deploying overseas.
“These are the men and women we honor today. These are the men and women we’ll honor on Veterans Day,” Obama said. “And these are the men and women we shall honor every day, in times of war and times of peace, so long as our nation endures.” (from the Virginian-Pilot, in Norfolk, Virginia)
Obama’s directive follows Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s order for flags in Texas to be flown half-staff until Monday.
Flag etiquette reminder: When flown at half-staff, the U.S. flag should be raised quickly to full staff, then lowered slowly to half-staff.