Ground broken for Fort Hood shootings memorial

The Bernie Beck Gate marks the official entrance to Fort Hood. (KXAN Photo\Frank Martinez)
The Bernie Beck Gate marks the official entrance to Fort Hood. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)

KILLEEN, Texas (AP) — Ground was broken Tuesday in Central Texas for a memorial to victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that left 13 people dead and more than 30 wounded.

Ceremonies were held for the Fort Hood November 5 Memorial near the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

The proposal calls for spending more than $400,000 for a memorial pavilion and bronze sculptures honoring the 13 people who were slain. An organizational website also recognizes those who were wounded in the attack committed by Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan.

Hasan was convicted and sentenced to death last year for the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shootings. Hasan, who was a major at the time of the attack, said he acted to protect Islamic insurgents abroad from American aggression.

The idea for the memorial was conceived by Hiram Dixon, an area resident who was on a hunting trip in South Dakota when the shooting occurred, according to the Killeen Daily Herald.

“I came home with such a heavy heart, I could not fathom such a thing happening,” he said. “I was sitting having lunch in Temple and began doodling … I sat and doodled a little gazebo with a garden … I really appreciate all that has come from a little bitty idea of a drawing on a napkin.”

He later added, “It’s a culmination of the little girl that gave me 83 cents at a fundraiser, to people who have donated thousands and thousands of dollars.”

Memorial organizers are still accepting donations.

Dixon said the day held a range of emotions for participants.

“It’s a good day that we are all here to honor and remember what happened … It’s a sad day that we have to be here at all,” he said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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