Fort Hood Tribute
Debbi K. Swanson Patrick
This photo was taken by Martin Howard, a retired Lt. Col. and pathologist from the US Army in Mississippi. I saw it on Flickr and felt it instantly conveyed the feelings of the Fort Hood rampage last week that left 12 soldiers, one civilian, and one unborn baby dead—and the shooter in the hospital. The questions are endless about the making of this tragedy—Who missed the signs? What was the final straw? How long had this been building? Were there terrorists ties? What is the Army and other armed services going to do about it? In the meantime, there are soldiers, husbands, sons, brothers, daughters, wives, and a soon-to-be-mother, to mourn.
Here is retired Lt. Col. Howard’s story:
I served in the US Army in Iraq in 2004 with the Mississippi National Guard. I was briefly at Fort Hood during my Reserve duty in 1999. I look upon all soldiers here and abroad as my brothers and sisters. These VOLUNTEERS are the finest people I have ever known in my life. I am continually amazed at the sacrifices these young people make on our behalf. The tragedy touched me as it occurred here in America, on a base, where they should have felt safe one last time. Their loss is no less tragic than those a world away but it reinforces the resolve we must have even at home.
As for the photo, I took my boots outside to compose a tribute for the troops to post on Flickr to remind everyone to pray for the victims. The sun was just rising as I set the boots and flag on the ground to get my camera. The scene just made itself. I used a small flash on the boots but the whole shot was done in 3 or 4 takes.
Martin Howard, MD
LT COL, US ARMY (ret)
Here is a list of the deceased.