Tragedy and Terror at Fort Hood Texas Military Base
As darkness fell across Fort Hood Military Base in Fort Hood, Texas, the massacare that would soon occur would leave even the most seasoned war veteran in shock and traumatized. Located in Central Texas, Fort hood is the largest military base in the nation, but on this night, Thursday November 5th, the enemy the troops stationed here would face was one they never expected. He would be one of their own.
Suddenly and without warning, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a 39 year old psychiatrist, opened fire on his unexpected comrades. Using two pistols he fired 100 rounds, killing 13 and wounding 29 before he was brought down by gunfire himself.
The bloody scene would remind many of a warzone in Iraq or Afghanistan, only this was on their own base, in their own country. It was a surprise and violent ambush. Confusion and terror reigned as the soliders tried to remove their wounded and keep out of range of the gunfire.
Maj. Hasan was born in the United States in the State of Virginia to parents of Palestinian desent. He worked in the army as a psychiatrist, counseling soliders returning from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He had never served a tour of duty, instead counseling at Walter Reed Medical Center and the in Fort Hood Military base where the attack occured.
Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, Commander of the lll Corps and Fort Hood noted that 500 of his soldiers were lost in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan but that he never expected to pay such a high price at home. He called the attack "unimaginable and... a kick in the gut". Soliders interviewed said they never thought that someone they saw on a daily basis would be shooting at them." We never even considered his background or that he could be a Muslim extremist who posed a threat inside the ranks. We didn't even know his background, only that he was standing there shooting at us."
Relatives and others associated with Hasan have said that he was deeply disturbed by his imminent deployment and the fact that U.S. Muslim soliders could fight against fellow Muslims in other countries.
There may have been warning signs that were missed regarding Hasans state of mind and the threat of impending disaster. In a presentation to a Senior Group of Army Physicians a year and a half before the Fort Hood shooting spree. The topics usually covered by those in the residency program were about new medications or treatments for mental illness, but Hasan's was strangely different. He told his audience that to avoid adverse effects the military shold allow Muslim soliders to be released as conscientious objectors instead of being made to fight in wars against other Muslims. He went on about Islam, suicide bombers and other dangers the U.S. Military could face if Muslim soldiers felt conflict over fighting other Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. "It's harder and harder for Muslims in the military to justify being in a military that is constantly engaged against other Muslims."
An Army spokesperson refused to comment on the presentation or if Hasan had requested to resign or not be deployed due to the pending. "It would be highly unlikely that an officer with Hasans experience and rank to be allowed to resign due to service obligation."
Other psychiatrists who had complained about Hasan violating the doctor-patient priviledge said " he had requested that patients face charges for war crimes based on information they told him in their counseling sessions. Col. Kimberly Kesling, Hasans commanding officer said she had not recieved any complaints on Hasan and added that "he was a hard working, dedicated young man who gave great care to his patients.
At the present lawmakers are pushing ahead with plans to investigate the breakdown of intelligence and the governments failure to notice Hasans increasing radicalisim. They have said it is similar to that of the 911 failure.
Across Texas families are burying their loved ones and still struggling to understand why. The surviving soldiers now wonder if and how many more extremist may be among them.
Major. Nidal Malik Hasan remains hospitalized in a San Antonio hospital charged with thirteen counts of pre-meditated murder.
I'm Thankful for your gift of freedom
As I set my dinner table on thanksgiving, expecting only a few family members . I couldn't shake a sombering thought. That here not far from where I live many families are still in mourning for the loved ones lost at Fort Hood and IF they do celebrate this Blessed day it will not be the same. There will be the empty chair, the missed smiles and too familiar faces that will not not grace their tables this year. The memories and the wounds are still too fresh.
Knowing this took something out of my holiday cheer. I felt their pain and loss. I felt their grief. I recently felt the loss of my nephew in a accident a month ago. I wondered if they would pass the time sharing stories of their loved one, shedding tears and just remembering.
In my heart I wished I could reach out and touch everyone of them, hold them close and tell them how sorry I am that for their loss and wipe away their tears. I knew this was impossible but I still couldn't shake the feeling of their hopelessness and what could I do to help.
Due to privavy laws and the ongoing investigation into the monster that committed this atrocious act, I could not send condolence cards or call. After all I am a stranger, but a stranger who wanted the families to know that I understood. Then my creative mind found the answers.
As my little group of family gathered at the table , minus my daughter tina who was out of state, and yes I missed her . Again the thought came to me that if I missed her so much, knowing she was only one state over with her husbands family, how much more did they miss the ones so far away, not states but countries away. I knew then what I should be thankful for.
As we lowered our heads in prayer, I gave thanks for the usual things that we give thanks for, food, family, friends, and the chance to be together. After the family prayer was said I told my family I wanted to add a very special prayer of thanks.
Lord, thank you for the ones who are suffering today due to the loss of their loved ones here in Fort Hood and afar in Iraq, Afghanistain and everyone else in the world where our men and women are dying and giving their lives so freely and with unselfisness so that may sit here and pray. That I may be with my family, love and hold my grandchildren, have a traditional thanksgiving dinner, that i may sleep soundly at night knowing that I am protected by the freedom they provide. At the cost of their own lives, the cost of being away from their families, the cost of knowing they may never return, or return but not the same person that left.
So today I, as an American, appreciate and am so very thankful for the freedom you provide me to live the greatest nation in the world. To worship as I see fit, to dress as i wish. To hold my loved ones near, Thank you Soldiers, Our Darling soldiers Dear.
Happy Thanksgiving, remember we love you and you are always in our prayers. We hope you come home soon.
With love and appreciate you all,