In the midst of election stuff, I forgot. I did. If it hadn't been for Facebook, I might have just glossed over what today was.
On November 5, 2009, Ben had his promotion ceremony. We had finished up with the ceremony and we were all socializing and eating cake. Our friend, who worked at the hospital on Fort Hood, came over and said he was being called back to work. We were surprised as he had taken the afternoon off to attend the promotion. He said there had been a shooting and he was needed.
We did not think it was a big as it was. So, we set about cleaning up the food and getting leftovers into the cars. We (the children, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and me) headed to the Club to return the coffee maker. My sister-in-law and I headed to the doors my sister-in-law indicated was where she entered earlier in the day. It was locked. Actually, it was locked and chained. So, we headed around the building. That's when the siren went off. The announcement was to take cover and stay away from the windows. My sister-in-law continued around the building while I ran back to get the car to pick her up.
Apparently, the call had gone out to the buildings to close up before the sirens went off. The poor soldiers inside the building wanted to help us, but couldn't as the doors were chained closed. So, we brought the coffee pot back into the suburban and took off. We didn't want to be caught out in the open.
You have to remember. At this point there was not enough information. For all the authorities knew, there was more than one gunman. I ran a red light at the urging of my mother-in-law and we turned out of Fort Hood. As we crossed the gate, the guard ran out to close it. We made it in the nick of time.
I remember all of this very vividly. I remember the sense of panic. I remember my children panicking at the sirens. I remember their fear. I remember them worrying about their father who had gone on to take care of some business. Cell phone circuits were busy as word was getting out.
They locked down post. No one could get in or out. We waited as long as we could then went to dinner. I think it's the first time we went out to dinner without having to wait for a table. We're a family of a minimum of 6, we always wait for a table. It was very, very eerie with the roads very empty.
It turned into a very long night. Until the children went to bed, we didn't turn the news on. They didn't need to see or hear about it.
Ben came home close to 11. For us that ended the day. For these families who lost loved ones or for those who survived after being shot, it hasn't ended. The man responsible has not been brought to justice yet. And, for the record? It was not workplace violence. It's terrorism pure and simple.