Remembering a day of terror

Today marks the 10-year anniversary when a Muslim extremist and U.S. Army psychiatrist murdered 13 men and women, one unborn child and injured more than 30 others. I know, I was there.

On a cool November day at Ft. Hood in 2009 at 1:20 p.m., “someone did something:” To date, that something was the deadliest attack on a military instillation. Much like previous attacks, it was callus, calculated and horrific, and was done with the help of terrorist leader Imam Anwar Al Awlaki, who has since been eliminated.

Today marks a day of courage by many. Some took bullets for strangers or for their closest brothers-in-arms, while others rushed in to stop the bleeding of the wounded. The terrorist continued shooting, even coming into our building, and firing on myself and others as we rushed for cover. However, something distracted the terrorist, and he changed directions and averted his fire in another direction. He then approached another side of the building and began firing on us again. For me, though what happened before this was more important.

Before coming face-to-face with the shooter, Dr. Michael Cahill, Capt. John Gaffney and Spc. Fredrick Greene rushed the shooter with chairs, but were fatally shot. Though brave was their counterattack, it proved unsuccessful – the soldiers and civilian had been disarmed due to regulations. Others, like my friend Sgt. 1st Class Alonzo Lunsford tried to stop the rampage even after he had been shot. Alonzo, took a total of seven bullets; one to the head and six throughout his body. Then, Department of Defense Police Officer Kim Munley engaged the shooter first, and was shot. Finally, DOD Officer Mark Todd fired his service pistol, resulting in the shooter being paralyzed.

What we were all left asking is, why did all of this happen? The nation learned, it was a mixture of religious ideology, selfishness and political correctness.

The FBI and others in the shooter’s command had been informed, in fact had video of his ideology and insights to his intents long before he came to Ft. Hood. The shooter had bad performance evaluations at Walter Reed Medical Center, and from all other indications, he had other issues; however, his command decided to move him to Ft. Hood instead of removing him from the Army. This move happened because his leadership was afraid they would be accused of discrimination, and so, they transferred him to Ft. Hood.

One tragedy turned into another, when that administration denied calling the attack terrorism, and then resisted giving those affected the benefits and awards related to sustained injuries and life-saving actions. We couldn’t believe it and were astounded. If it was your son or daughter, I am sure you would want to know that the country they served to protect took care of them.

It shouldn’t be that hard. Luckily, most, if not all, have now been taken care of.

Finally, after 10 years, what have we learned? For a country that either has a short memory, or doesn’t care, this is what we have learned.

• We learned our military and nation should not be consumed with political correctness. Political correctness kills. We need truth and should base our lives on that truth.

• Disarming our troops and civilians allowed our service members to be murdered.

• We learned that despite being put in the worst of situations, we have good people in our hometowns that transcend above the odds and are heroes. The people who are civilians and those who wear the uniform will sacrifice their lives so others may live.

As a survivor of this attack, I ask you remember your neighbor, put your differences behind and take care of your communities. Remember to support our military, and remember those who give all that we may live free!

Sgt. Howard Ray, U.S. Army (Ret.) is an area resident and survivor of the Ft. Hood tragedy of Nov. 5, 2009.