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FORT HOOD (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A top Army commander said that he hopes that the Purple Hearts awarded to dozens of survivors and relatives of soldiers who died in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting gives them closure.

The ceremony held early Friday took place on the sprawling Texas military post where an Army psychiatrist opened fire on unarmed soldiers, killing 13 people. Many of the medal recipients felt that the honor was long overdue.

Almost six years after the attack, 44 medals were awarded.

Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland acknowledged that it was likely painful for the survivors and family members to return to scene of the deadliest mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base.

“Lord, we know there are days in our lives that bring us to our knees in frustration and utter disbelief,” said Col. Robert Whitlock during the Friday ceremony.

The gunman, Nidal Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist, was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to death.

A Fort Hood police officer who shot Hasan to help end the rampage was given the Defense of Freedom medal. Congress changed the rules this year, making the victims eligible for the honors.

“Maybe the nation will know what took place here now,” said Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Royal, “because it’s not only us screaming it, but now we have something to show, tangible to see.”

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