Honoring the victims of the Monday’s attack,Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and others also participated in the ceremony.
Neither Hagel nor Dempsey spoke at the ceremony,which lasted about 15 minutes.
For some who attended the ceremony,it hit closer to home than most ceremonies.
Dwayne Brewer’s cousin Meloney Avery works at the Navy Yard as a clerk,and he said she was there when the shootings took place.
“I tried,but I couldn’t get through to her,” the 27-year-old National Archives inventory coordinator said.
Brewer,who lives in D.C.,said he was happy to find out she was safe after she posted a status update on Facebook.
“Just that she was OK,” he said. “It was a traumatic experience.”
Avery did not have any connection to anyone affected by the shooting,he said.
Events such as this reminded him of the fear he felt during the D.C. sniper shootings that killed 10 people and injured three in fall of 2002.
“That’s the way I felt,” he said. “It was someone who just snapped.”
The 73-year-old retired Branford,Conn.,resident said she and her husband came to Washington on a visit Monday morning,and almost immediately saw helicopters zooming across the city skyline.
She said events like this will always be remembered by those they affect,either directly or indirectly.
“I think you always remember it,” Hyde said. “It’s like September 11. It’s one of those dates you’ll etch in your mind.”
Branford is about an hour away from the town of Sandy Hook,where in December a shooter killed 28 people,most of them children,at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Reach Sean Bradley at [email protected] or 202-326-9866. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.