A top Army commander says he hopes that Purple Hearts awarded to dozens of survivors and relatives of soldiers who died in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting gives them closure.

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

Army Lt. General Sean MacFarland acknowledged that it was likely painful for them to return to scene of the deadliest mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base.

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.