Washington: Three soldiers who were gunned down last week by a fellow soldier at Fort Hood, Texas, have been remembered as courageous, noble men who died senselessly, all after returning safely from war.
The three soldiers - all sergeants who together had nine deployments to Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan - were killed on April 2 on the Army base, one of the largest in the United States.
US President Barack Obama said all three men loved the military, believed in its mission to keep the rest of the country strong and free, and lived its values of loyalty, duty and honour.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama turn to leave after paying their respects during a memorial ceremony at Fort Hood Texas. Photo: AP
"Their passing shakes our soul. And in moments such as this, we summon once more what we've learned in these hard years of war," Mr Obama said.
"We reach within our wounded hearts. We lean on each other. We hold each other up, we carry on, and with God's amazing grace, we somehow bear what seems unbearable."
The dead soldiers were Sergeant Daniel Ferguson, Staff Sergeant Carlos Lazeney-Rodriguez and Sergeant Timothy Owens.
"It was love for country that inspired these three Americans to put on the uniform and join the greatest Army that the world has ever known," Mr Obama said.
He told the soldiers' families that he and his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, were at the base for the memorial service on behalf of the American people to honour their loved-ones and offer whatever help they needed.
"Even in your grief, even as your heart breaks, we see in you that eternal truth, love never ends," Mr Obama said.
Sixteen other people were injured in the attack, which ended when the gunman, Army Specialist Ivan Lopez, took his own life.
Investigators have said an argument Lopez had with other soldiers preceded the attack, but they also are looking into mental health issues.