Fort Hood memorial

Fort Hood Shooting Memorial Committee members Don Farek, left, and Troy Kelley review the memorial plans during the finals days of completion before the dedication ceremony Friday, March 11, 2016.

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.

Contact Jacob Brooks or (254) 501-7468

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