Editor’s Note – Put very simply; it’s about time. After almost 5 1/2 years, the proper recognition has been bestowed upon the fallen and injured from the 2009 terror attack at Ft. Hood.
The radical Islamic terror event was not officially recognized as such all this time but rather was called ‘workplace violence.’
That was an insult, and any clear thinking person knew it, but because of a couple of words in the military code, the law had to be changed to overcome obvious roadblocks forced by official policy on who the enemy was.
The victims and their families deserve our prayers and support, and this legislation rightly honors them for defending our nation in the face of a heinous act of terror” – Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Reps. John Carter (R-Texas) and Roger Williams (R-Texas) added words to legislation of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that expanded “eligibility for the Purple Heart to include members of the Armed Forces who have been killed or wounded in an attack inspired or motivated by a foreign terrorist.”
The NDAA passed both houses and was signed by President Obama on December 16, 2014.
Previous government regulations stated (briefly), that the Purple Heart was limited to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who have been wounded or killed in any action against a U.S. enemy or opposing armed force of a “foreign country”.
Now we can finally put this argument to rest – Ft. Hood was an Radical Islam Terrorist act and our forces in uniform were victims of the greater war declared upon us long ago by radical Islamic forces but unrecognized by the White House.
Our warriors take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and lay their life on the line to do so; many paid the ultimate price on our own soil that day in November of 2009. They lived up to their oath, we wish others who took a similar oath would live up to theirs.
Fort Hood Victims Awarded Purple Hearts After Long, Controversial Battle
Today the military awarded the victims and survivors of the 2009 Fort Hood attack with Purple Hearts and other medals, after a more than five-year-long bureaucratic struggle over whether the awards were deserved.
Kimberly Munley, the former police sergeant credited with stopping the attack, and civilian Michael Cahill, who was killed, were honored with Defense of Freedom Medals.
For years the survivors have fought to get the military to recognize the shooting by Maj. Nidal Hasan as a terrorist attack, which would make them eligible for the Purple Hearts and other combat-related benefits. But the military pushed back, likening the attack to workplace violence.
A Pentagon position paper obtained by ABC News in April 2013 said that giving the victims the Purple Heart could “irrevocably alter the fundamental character of this time-honored decoration” and “undermine the prosecution of Major Nidal Hasan by materially and directly compromising Major Hasan’s ability to receive a fair trial.”
Thirteen people were killed and another 32 were injured when Hasan opened fire on his fellow soldiers at the Texas Army facility in November 2009. Hasan said during his trial the troops were about to deploy to Afghanistan where they would pose an immediate danger to the Taliban, whom he said he was defending.
Three years after the attack, Munley told ABC News she felt “betrayed” by President Obama, who had welcomed her as a hero at the 2010 State of the Union Address.
“Betrayed is a good word,” Munley said. “Not to the least little bit have the victims been taken care of… In fact, they’ve been neglected.”
Hasan was convicted and sentenced to death in August 2013. But still, the military pushed back on awarding Purple Hearts to the victims until last month.
The move was precipitated by a change in the law that broadened the strict eligibility rules for the medal, which is awarded to those wounded in combat.
Advocates for the victims gained support from members of Congress who succeeded in including legislation in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act that broadened the definition of an attack by a “a foreign terrorist organization” to include contacts the perpetrator may have had with a foreign terrorist organization prior to the attack and “if the attack was inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization.”
ABC News’ Luis Martinez contributed to this report.