LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The shootings at Fort Hood on Thursday afternoon shocked America as well as veterans right here at home.
"When you take someone's life, you're taking away what that person could have given to mankind," says retired Sgt. Major Ronnie Odom. "On a military base, this is the place you'd think that it's sacred and safe, not deadly"
As 13 lives were taken on a deadly rampage on Thursday, Odom recalls his days at Fort Hood.
"It's a huge base in Killeen, Texas," says Odom. "From the north to the south, it's 15 miles. It's not a place I would like to spend a lot of time."
Odom says he is one of many soldiers from Lake Charles who attended training at Fort Hood just before deploying to Kuwait in 2000.
"When you sign your name, you at that point are required to do anything they ask you to do," says Odom.
When considering Major Nidal Malik Hasan's action, Odom feels this order could have driven Hasan's motive.
"He was about to be deployed to the Middle East," says Odom. "Maybe he cared for too many soldiers that came back with post traumatic syndrome."
Regardless, Odom feels there had to be an alternative way out of deployment than the one Hasan took on Thursday at Fort Hood.
"There's no use in killing people for no reason," says Odom.
Despite yesterday's tragedy in Fort Hood, veterans here in Lake Charles plan to celebrate the bravery of soldiers killed on and off the battlefield.
The Mayor's Armed Forces Commission prepares for tomorrow's Veteran's Day events.
"It sort of makes for a bitter sweet Veterans Day," says Ron Williams, President of the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission. "As we celebrate veterans, at the same time we're mourning for the soldiers who were killed in that terrible, terrible shooting."
But despite the mourning, vets say there's no better time to commend those who lay down their lives for our country.