"I've lost quite a few soldiers in the current war over the last eight years," said Maj. Gen. David Blackledge of Fort Bragg. "It's an opportunity for me to remember their sacrifice, the sacrifices of their families, as well as the sacrifices of the families of all of my soldiers."
Major General David Blackledge leads the Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command at Fort Bragg. He comes from a family of veterans and has twice been injured in combat. Both times, he suffered from post-traumatic stress. During the past week, he's closely followed events at Fort Hood.
"It was a true tragedy," Blackwell said. "But it helps to remind people of the sacrifices our soldiers are making as they prepare to deploy and [actually] deploy. And the wonderful thing is the way our soldiers responded to the incident, and really lived the army values."
Even with such a great loss on the minds of many, there was also cause for celebration. A parade wound through the streets of downtown Raleigh to celebrate those who have served and survived.
"I love my country," said Marshal 'Pete' Ashworth, a Vietnam veteran. "I am delighted that I am able to participate in the parade. And I'm also happy to see so many turn out today."
"We don't have to worry about people shooting us or blowing us up, because they're willing to go and do what needs to be done to keep us safe and free," said Fonda Spooner, a military mother.