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Celebrating our Service Members

Apr 13, 2015
Honoring the Victims at the Great Place

Last Friday the III Corps and Fort Hood commander hosted a ceremony to award the Purple Heart and Defense of Freedom medals to the victims of the November 5, 2009 attack on Fort Hood.  

In total, 47 medals were presented to both military personnel and civilians during an emotional ceremony that recounted the horrific events of that awful day.

While I am glad the victims finally got the proper recognition they deserve, it took entirely way too long. It has been almost six years, and the Obama Administration still refuses to acknowledge that the attack on Fort Hood was an act of terrorism.  

It is a fact that Nidal Malik Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" while he simultaneously killed 14 people, including an unborn child, and injured dozens more.  
To think that this tragic event was simply "workplace violence" is delusional.  

It is my opinion that this president wants to do all he can to protect his image and reputation for the history books. He simply does not want to be known as a president who allowed an act of terrorism to happen on U.S. soil on his watch.  

Unfortunately, a terrorist attack did happen. Categorizing the attack as "workplace violence" had previously prevented these brave men and women, who gave the ultimate sacrifice and went beyond their call of duty, from being properly recognized as the heroes they are.

It is for that reason I, along with Congressman John Carter, drafted and passed legislation that would allow these medals to be awarded. Our bill, which was included as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, was signed into law this year.   

Since I came to Congress I have been fortunate to get to know many of the Fort Hood staff and individuals that were on base during that tragic day. One of those is Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford.  
Last week Sgt. Lunsford and I were reunited at the Great Place.  

Two years ago he accompanied me to the State of the Union address in Washington. Four years before that he was shot seven times during the attack on Fort Hood.

His courageous actions on that fateful day saved the lives of many, but  he was not recognized by President Obama as he sat in the House of Representatives chamber while the president addressed the nation.   

Sgt. Lunsford inspires me to fight for these victims, our veterans and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces when this administration will not.  

While I am grateful the victims of the Fort Hood attack received their medals there is still more to be done.  

I will not stop fighting for these brave men and women just as they do not stop fighting for us, and I will work tirelessly to make sure they receive the support they rightfully earned.
Thanking Mr. Richard Overton
On Wednesday I had the pleasure of honoring an Austinite who is the oldest living U.S. combat veteran.

Richard Overton, 108, resides in the same house he purchased when he returned to Austin after World War II where he served in the Pacific Theater as part of the 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion.

Mr. Overton is everything that is great about America and great about Texas.  

He is a living example that in this country ordinary people do extraordinary things.