Honoring soldiers is something Central Texas, particularly the Killeen area, does quite well.
We see it all the time. At ceremonies on post. At events off post. At the veterans cemetery in Killeen and throughout the community.
Another big event to honor fallen and wounded soldiers and their families will happen at 3 p.m. Friday in Killeen.
That’s when the Fort Hood Shooting Memorial will be dedicated during a ceremony.
The memorial honors the 12 soldiers and one civilian killed in the Nov. 5, 2009, attack on post. They are:
Lt. Col. Juanita Warman
Maj. Libardo Caraveo
Capt. John Gaffaney
Capt. Russell Seager
Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow
Staff Sgt. Amy Krueger
Spc. Kham Xiong
Spc. Frederick Greene
Spc. Jason Hunt
Pfc. Aaron Nemelka
Pfc. Michael Pearson
Pfc. Francheska Velez
Army civilian Michael Cahill, a retired chief warrant officer
One of the soldiers killed by Nidal Hasan — Francheska Velez — was pregnant at the time, and reportedly cried out “My baby, my baby” as she lay bleeding to death on the floor of the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where the shooting occurred.
It’s one of many disturbing images from that terrible day.
In the years since the shooting, we’ve seen the families of the victims and survivors come together. We’ve seen the building where the shooting occurred torn down. We’ve seen Purple Hearts pinned on the wounded, and we’ve heard rhetoric on the pros and cons of allowing private, concealed weapons on post.
We’ve also seen tragedy happen again, when on April 2, 2014, another troubled Fort Hood soldier opened fire on his comrades, killing three.
However, Friday’s event isn’t another opportunity to debate the guns-on-post or other political issues.
Rather, it’s a time to honor those who were killed or wounded and their families. They’ve been through a lot.
The memorial is between the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and the Shilo Inn on W.S. Young Drive.
We’ll be there offering full and live coverage of the event. Everyone is invited to attend.