Published on April 9 2014 9:24 am
Last Updated on April 10 2014 1:03 pm
Written by Greg Sapp
Video of Timothy's friends sharing their memories is located here.
A memorial ceremony was held this afternoon at Ft. Hood, Texas to remember Sgt. Timothy Owens and two other soldiers killed in a shooting last week.
Owens, a native of Effingham, and the other victims were killed by Specialist Ivan Lopez who then killed himself. 16 others were wounded by Lopez.
The memorial ceremony was held at the fort's Sadowski Field.
Of Owens, the President said, "Timothy joined (the army) after 9/11, knowing he could be sent into harms way. And it's said that Timothy, the counselor, even then, gave his life walking toward the gunman, trying to calm him down."
Lieutenant General Mark Milley praised the victims and those who rushed to the aid of the fallen after the shootings. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno called the shooting spree heartbreaking and inexplicable.
President Obama delivered remarks at the service. The President and First Lady Michelle Obama met privately with victims' families before the memorial ceremony began. Fort Hood was also hit by a mass shooting in 2009 when a soldier opened fire and killed a dozen people. General Odierno said the military must do a better job of identifying "risk factors" and treating mental health problems.
During his remarks, the President said, "It is love tested by tragedy that brings us together again."
Obama pointed out that Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson died while barricading a door to protect others, while Sergeant Owens was shot to death while trying to talk the gunman into stopping his rampage.
Obama remarked that the military must do more to secure its facilities and provide for the mental health of those returning from war.
The City of Effingham today received information on flying flags at half-staff in Sgt. Owens' memory. City Administrator Jim Arndt said US and Illinois flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise Thursday until sunset Saturday. The directive is from Governor Pat Quinn through the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.
Meanwhile, the Patriot Guard has been asked to be present for Flag Line at the candlelight service downtown Friday night. Staging is set for 6:20pm on the north side of the old Courthouse Museum. Flag line will begin at 6:45pm. Bob Fergus is the Ride Captain.