Nov 7, 2009 7:26 AM by Nicole Vandeputte

Excitement and sadness at Army pep rally

Tonight at Fort Hood, hundreds gathered for a vigil as the army's chief chaplain offered prayers and words of encouragement. It was the first community gathering since the tragedy.

On our Mountain Post, the traditional Army pep rally, before the Air Force game took on a different flavor. There were the rousing yells, but there was also a moment of silence in honor of those killed and wounded yesterday at Fort Hood.

The Army band and cheerleaders led the crowd in fight songs. Then, the Dean of West Point Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan took the stage at Fort Carson. He had the crowd chanting fighting words.

Under the excitement is some sadness. Brig. Gen. Finnegan says, "We know a lot of people at Fort Hood and we're thinking of them, so there's a little bit of somber tone to things."

In the crowd is Jennifer Stiever. She just moved to Colorado Springs. She was stationed at Fort Hood. "I'm sad. I just wanted to be around other people who were there with me, and know what we are all going through."

To fight her grief Steiver says she sought out her family. "I just wanted to feel that camaraderie that the military gives you that you don't feel anywhere else," she says.

Firefighters light a massive fire with a large fake Falcon on top. The crowd cheers as it burns. Tonight they find strength in each other.

Kick-off is 1-30 p.m. Tomorrow at Falcon stadium. 


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