Our hearts as individuals and as a nation go out to the families
of the soldiers and the civilian worker who were killed
and to those wounded at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009.
|9/02/2013||11 a.m.||"Honoring Our Fort Hood Heroes Act" Press Conference at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center; Hosted by U.S. Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Congressmen John Carter and Roger Williams.
November 5, 2009
On the afternoon of November 5, 2009, 13 Americans were sacrificed for their country — not on the distant soils of Iraq or Afghanistan — but here — on American soil — in Fort Hood, Texas. On that day, gunfire erupted inside the Soldier Readiness Center. Thirteen people were killed and 32 were wounded.
The victims were mainly men and women who were preparing to deploy to battle zones or who had recently returned from them. Thanks to the heroic intervention of two Fort Hood police officers, the rampage was brought to an end.
In the aftermath of this tragic event, memorial services were held to pay tribute to those who had died or who had been injured. From that initial outpouring of emotion and out of the desire to honor and remember the victims of that tragic event came the concept of establishing a permanent public and living memorial.
The idea for establishing a memorial garden was conceived by Harker Heights resident and SPJST employee Hiram Dixon. Mr. Dixon served in the U.S. Army from 1969 until 1972, during which time he completed a tour of duty in Vietnam. Working as partners with the City of Killeen, Killeen Civic and Conference Center Special Events Committee and and Killeen Volunteers, Inc., the SPJST, a fraternal society based in Temple, Texas, spearheaded efforts in the public and private sector to construct a memorial garden to honor the victims and provide a historic record of the tragedy in order to deliver a message of vigilance for generations to come.
Throughout the spring and summer months of 2010, considerable efforts were made by a committee designated by Mayor Tim Hancock to determine the exact name, location, design and budget for the project. The Killeen City Council authorized the development of the Fort Hood November 5, 2009 Memorial at a meeting on June 8, 2010.
The project includes a memorial pavilion and garden and will be located on the grounds of the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. Killeen area homebuilder Don Farek has provided project oversight, taking the project from Artist Troy Kelley's conception and working with engineers to develop completed structural plans. Architect Marty Wall, of First Draft, Inc. and engineer Dennis Dyke, of Abacus Engineering, Inc. were responsible for rendering the building plans for the project. An unveiling ceremony of the project design was held on the site of the proposed memorial's location on November 5, 2010 for the community and for the families of those who lost loved ones on November 5, 2009.
Sculptor Troy Kelley of Salado, Texas, who designed the memorial, has completed much of the design, sculpture and foundry work on the individual memorials that will honor those who lost their lives. These personalized bronze and granite tributes will celebrate the lives of those who lost their lives and be the central focus of the memorial and garden project.
“After serving in Vietnam and as a retired veteran, I have very strong feelings about what occurred at Fort Hood and I have a great affection for all military service members,” says Mr. Kelley. “I wanted future generations to know the history of what had taken place on November 5, 2009, but most of all I wanted to honor the victims that through no fault of their own, gave their life on that horrible day.”
“It is my hope that the people visiting the memorial will understand that the name and objects represents a life, a family, a hometown, and a country, and that person gave their life for all of those things. So they deserve to be remembered and honored not by just Americans but by all the people of the world.”
About the Memorial
The roof at the center of the gazebo will be open to the sky with a large 70-foot flagpole reaching upward. The United States flag is a symbol of victory and self-assertion. On the top of the flag pole will be an American eagle, signifying the strength of the Nation. When portrayed holding an olive branch, in it’s right talon, it symbolizes peaceful intention.
At the base of the flagpole will be a black granite stone in the shape of a three-sided pyramid. On one of the surfaces will be a description of the November 5, 2009 event. On another surface are the names of the victims and on the final surface is a list of the wounded. On the perimeter of the gazebo is a circle of thirteen black granite columns in the shape of a triangle four feet high by eighteen inches wide.The sides of each of the columns will be etched with the victims name, an engraved portrait, and a message written by the family or friend about the person honored. On top of the column, cast in bronze, will be a favorite object of that person.
The initial response to the memorial project was gratifying as individuals, fraternal organizations, veterans groups, businesses and civic organizations have been stepping up to offer support.
Funding the Memorial
Through May of 2013, approximately $165,000 has been raised. This amount includes in-kind site preparation contributions. The amount does not include pledges for materials and construction support which have also been received. Approximately $269,000 is needed for materials and contstruction. Additional funding that is received will be directed to a permanent endowment fund to provide for the maintenance and upkeep of the memorial and garden. Killeen Volunteers, Inc.,Taxpayer ID# 1-74-6001504-7, which is the organization receiving donations is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation. The site will honor the victims and provide a historic record of this tragedy in order to deliver a message of vigilance for generations to come.
Our hearts—as individuals and as a nation—go out to the families of the soldiers and the civilian worker who were killed and to those wounded. The death of those who are near and dear to us is one of the most difficult trials delivered upon us during this fleeting life. It’s a soul-touching experience and one that reminds us that all we really have is each other, our freedom, our faith and the hope that our path to healing results in something constructive and good.