Mend these broken hearts
On Valentine’s Day, a day of love and binding of hearts, we need to take time to think of those who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Three years have passed since the Nov. 9, 2009 tragedy at Fort Hood, where psychiatrist Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused of killing 13 servicemen and wounding 32 others.
The survivors have not been honored with the Military Order of the Purple Heart and are taking the country to court over claims of mistreatment.
Army Sgt. Kimberly Munley was one of the two military police officers who stopped Hasan. In tears, she told ABC News on Wednesday that President Barack Obama broke the promise he made to her that victims would be cared for.
“Betrayed is a good word,” Munley said. “Not the least little bit have the victims been taken care of. In fact they’ve been neglected.”
The issue centers on the military’s designation of the shooting. Since Hasan’s case is still under litigation, the military has designated the shooting as an incidence of workplace violence instead of combat-related or terrorism.
In a Nov. 16, 2010 article from The Washington Post, more than a dozen witnesses identified Hasan standing and openning fire. Many witnesses recall the gunman yelling “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.” The Fort Hood William H. Webster Commission’s report shows someone under the name of “Nidal Hasan” contacted and consulted with Anwar al-Awlaki, a suspected terrorist and citizen of the U.S. and Yemen.
“To award a Purple Heart, it has to be done by a foreign terrorist element,” said John McHugh, army secretary. “To declare that a soldier (is) a foreign terrorist would have a profound effect on the ability to conduct the trial.”
Shawn Manning, who was shot six times during the incident, told ABC News that the “workplace violence” designation cost him around $70,000 in benefits. Alonzo Lunsford was shot seven times. He received his injuries in the line of duty, and yet, the military and the Justice Department have no respect for what these soldiers are going through.
“It’s a slap in the face, not only for me but for all 32 that wore the uniform that day,” Lunsford said.
The president, as commander in chief, could make an exception in this case. If Obama is a man of integrity, he will see to it that these soldiers receive the treatment they deserve.
Aaron Manuel is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected]