Cynical Synapse

Wed, 11 Nov 2009

Honoring the Fort Hood 13 and All Veterans

Filed under: Global War on Terror, Heroes, Military, Patriotism, Terrorism — cynicalsynapse @ 6:33 pm

US flag at half-staff

President Barack Obama was at Fort Hood yesterday for a memorial service honoring the 13 killed in November 5th’s domestic Jihadist attack. The shooting spree also left 30 wounded, some in critical condition. Those who died are:

  • Mr. Michael Grant Cahill, 62, a civilian from Cameron Tx who was a physician’s assistant. He had a heart attack two weeks previously but had returned to work to assist Soldiers.
  • LTC Juanita Warman, 55, of Havre De Grace MD, was a physician’s assistant with two daughters and six grandchildren. She was deploying to Iraq in the near future.
  • MAJ L. Eduardo Caraveo, 52, of Woodbridge VA, a doctor of psychology who had taught children with learning disabilities as a civilian. He arrive at Fort Hood the day before the shooting and was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan</li
  • CPT Russell Seager, 51, of Racine WI, a psychiatrist who joing the Army a few years ago to help veterans returning to civilian life.
  • CPT John Gaffaney, 56, a psychiatric nurse from San Diego, who arrived at Fort Hood the day before the shooting to prepare for deployment to Iraq. Born in Williston ND, Gaffney had previously served in the US Navy and California National Guard.
  • SSG Justin M. DeCrow, 32, of Evans GA, was helping train Soldiers how to help veterans with paperwork. He’s survived by his wife and 13 year old daughter in Evans. They were waiting for DeCrow’s assignment to Fort Gordon GA.
  • SGT Amy Kruger, 29, of Kiel WI, joined the Army after the 2001 terrorist attacks. She arrived at Fort Hood on Tuesday in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan in December. She had vowed to take on Osama bin Laden; her mother said she told her daughter she couldn’t do that by herself. Amy’s response? “Watch me.”
  • SPC Jason Dean Hunt, 22, Fredereick OH, joined the military after graduating Tipton High School in 2005. He’d gotten married just two months previously and had served 3-1/2 years in the Army, including a tour in Iraq.
  • SPC Frederick Greene, 29, of Moutain City TN, was a hard worker and a computer whiz. While growing up, he was active in his church.
  • PFC Michael Pearson, 21, of Bolingbrook IL, quit what he figured was a dead-end furniture job to join the military.
  • PFC Kham Xiong, 23, of St. Paul MN, was a father of three. Xiong’s father said, “The sad part is that he had been taught and trained to protect and to fight. Yet, it’s such a tragedy that he did not have the opportunity to protect himself and the base.”
  • PV2 Francheska Velez, 21, of Chicago was pregnant and preparing to return home. She was fun-loving, wrote poetry, and enjoyed dancing. She returned from deployment to Iraq just 3 days before being killed. A friend, who had served briefly in the military, was in disbelief Velez was killed in the US.
  • PV2 Aaron Thomas Nemelka, 19, of West Jordan, UT, a Salt Lake City suburb, joined the military instead ofgoing on a church mission.

The President’s remarks at the memorial service recognized each of these Warrior heroes for the ordinary citizens they are and the sacrifice they made for the country they loved. We can only hope the nation is grateful for their selfless service. While this is more apropos to Memorial Day, I can think of no better tribute to what it really means to be a veteran than these 12 Soldiers and a civilian dedicated to serving Soldiers.

Today is, after all, Veterans’ Day. Among us are those who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Regardless of your political views, I emplore you to recognize the sacrifice and courage of our veterans. They don’t decide the wars—that’s a political decision—but they serve with honor and distinction every day. I, for one, am honored to stand in their presence and wear the uniform with them.

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