Eight years ago, an Army psychiatrist went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood that killed 12 soldiers and one civilian, wounded dozens and shattered the lives of countless families.
While a Fort Hood spokesman said the post would do nothing to remember the slayings, stating killer Maj. Nidal Hasan should not be remembered in any way, members of the Killeen community intend to ensure that victims of the worst mass shooting on a military installation will not be forgotten.
Committee members with the Nov. 5, 2009, Fort Hood Memorial in Killeen will conduct a brief ceremony at the site at 2 p.m. Sunday to mark the eighth anniversary of the tragic event.
Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra and other city officials are expected to attend. There will also be a moment of silence and committee members will reflect on the work that went into the memorial and what it means to the community to remember those killed in the shooting.
Those killed that day are Lt. Col. Juanita Warman, Maj. Libardo Caraveo, Capt. John Gaffaney, Capt. Russell Seager, Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow, Staff Sgt. Amy Krueger, Spc. Frederick Greene, Spc. Jason Hunt, Spc. Kham Xiong, Pfc. Aaron Nemelka, Pfc. Michael Pearson, Pfc. Francheska Velez and civilian Michael Cahill. They, and the wounded, were awarded the Purple Heart Medal in April 2015 and the civilians were awarded the Defense of Freedom Medal.
Those who were wounded in the attack are still dealing with the memories and the wounds they received that day. The Herald reached out to some of the survivors, but was only able to briefly contact one, former Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford Jr. Lunsford indicated he was still having issues receiving medical treatment for the wounds he received that day, but was unavailable for a full interview.
In a 2016 interview, Lunsford said despite earning the federal Purple Heart Medal, the survivors continued to struggle with the government’s lack of labeling their wounds as “combat related.”
He said if their injuries and medical paperwork were labeled as resulting from combat, it would put their medical care on a “higher tier,” leading to shorter wait times for appointments or future medical procedures.
“I still have a bullet in my back,” Lunsford said in 2016. “It can’t be removed because it’s so close to my spine.”
Former President Barrack Obama labeled the attack as “workplace violence.” He would not officially call the shooting a terrorist attack until December 2015, more than six years later and several months after the victims of the attack received their Purple Heart Medals.
The public is invited to the Sunday ceremony honoring those lost and wounded during the attack. The memorial is between the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and the Shilo Inn in the 3700 block of S. W.S. Young Drive.