Across the country, many stood before several flag-draped coffins during funeral services for several of the 13 victims of the Nov. 5 shootings in Fort Hood, Texas.
In Plymouth, Ind. Sheila Ellabarger had placed two foot-high American flags in the grass where she watched the procession for Army Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow. She said her children went to school with DeCrow and his wife - his high school sweetheart - and she knew other members of his family.
"He was killed by a terrorist in my mind but he was still killed in the line of duty. We owe him a debt of gratitude, him and his family and the other soldiers. We owe them our lives, our freedom," she said.
During services in Norman, Okla., snapshots from U.S. Army Spc. Jason Dean Hunt's recent wedding were projected near his casket. The 22-year-old was described as a loving husband and family man as well as a soldier who left a legacy of selflessness and service.
"We may never find out the reason for what occurred on that fateful day at Fort Hood, Texas," said Ross Ridge, the deputy commanding general at Fort Sill. "The military community are all grieving here today over the loss of this dedicated soldier."
The gymnasium in Kiel, Wis. was filled Saturday for Staff Sgt. Amy Krueger's funeral. A visitation had been held there Friday evening where the 29-year-old was remembered as a determined, energetic young woman.
She joined the U.S. Army Reserves after the 2001 terrorist attacks and vowed to hunt down bin Laden. When her mother said she couldn't do it alone, the soldier defiantly told her, "Watch me."
Krueger was to deploy to Afghanistan for a second time in December and had recently been sent for training at Fort Hood, where authorities allege Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at a processing center last week.
She had been studying psychology at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and was a mental health specialist who wanted to help soldiers cope with combat stress.
"Her smile would light up any room, her energy would envelope all of those around her," her parents, Jeri and David Krueger, said in a statement. "It is that smile and that energy that keeps us going throughout this difficult time."
She was what they call "Army Proud." Krueger always wore a U.S. Army hat or shirt around town and sported a tattoo that had a tattered American flag and read: "All gave some. Some gave all. Sacrifice."
Funerals also were planned Saturday for Capt. John Gaffaney, 56, a psychiatric nurse who worked for San Diego County, Calif.; and Pfc. Michael Pearson, 22, of Bolingbrook, Ill.; Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka, 19, of West Jordan, Utah.
Utah's congressional delegation, governor and the president of the Mormon church were among those expected to attend services for Nemelka, an Eagle Scout who carried on a family tradition by joining the Army a little more than a year ago.
"Aaron was a man of few words but deep feelings and a gentle disposition," according to an obituary in Salt Lake City newspapers. "His beautiful smile and cheerful, fun-loving personality endeared him to his many friends and family members."
Associated Press Writers Rochelle Hines in Norman, Okla., Rick Callahan in Plymouth, Ind.; Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee and Jennifer Dobner in West Jordan, Utah contributed to this report.