KILLEEN (July 22, 2014) Officials broke ground Tuesday morning in Killeen for a memorial to the victims of the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting at Fort Hood’s Soldier Readiness Center that left 13 dead and more than 30 injured.
"To stand here today is a culmination of a lot of hard work on a lot of many, many people," memorial organizer Hiram Dixon said.
"It's a culmination of tremendous amount of contributions that came from the smallest of companies to the largest of corporations, it's a culmination of the little girl that gave me 83 cents at a fundraiser to the people that donated thousands and thousands of dollars, it's both a good day and a very, very sad day,” he said.
The Fort Hood November 5 Memorial will be near the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and organizers hope to have it completed by Nov. 5, which will be the fifth anniversary of the shooting.
Plans call for a more than $400,000 memorial pavilion and bronze sculptures honoring the 12 soldiers and single civilian who died in the rampage.
Michael Cahill of Cameron was the lone civilian killed in the shooting.
His widow, Joleen, attended the ceremony Tuesday.
"The sacrifices made that day, the valor made by so many and the rise by many to aide friend and stranger, some risking their lives. This will be remembered by this memorial," she said.
"The quick medical response saved many lives and the soldiers today who have gone forward with their lives to make a difference in other people's lives and in this country."
Local sculptor Troy Kelley is among those leading the effort to honor the lives of those killed and wounded in the rampage.
Kelley has been working on sculptures that symbolize each the 13 victims of the shooting
Those were on display during the groundbreaking ceremony.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, praised the efforts of memorial supporters Tuesday.
“I applaud the hard work of the talented Troy Kelley and the supporters who have made the Fort Hood Memorial a reality. It is an important day for the families of the fallen and the larger Fort Hood community,” he said.
Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan was convicted and sentenced to death last year for the shootings.