As the trial of accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan drags on, people in Killeen and across Central Texas are moving ahead with a fitting tribute to the 13 that died that day.
The November 5th, 2009 Memorial project is off to a good start, but organizers are now reaching out to raise funds.
For artist, sculptor and veteran of the Vietnam War Troy Kelley, the 2009 shootings at Fort Hood struck a nerve. When he heard of plans for a memorial to the 13 killed, he volunteered his own design.
“It will be a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives and the message we're hoping to convey," Kelley said. "I wanted each family to submit an object that was a favorite object of the victim."
Each of those objects would be cast in bronze.
“Objects tell a lot about the individual," Kelley said. “We did a folded flag and a rose and the soldiers medal that you can see both sides of it."
The City of Killeen has offered land needed for the memorial and has also raised about one-quarter of the money needed.
"The great majority of those gifts have been one, five, ten, up to twenty dollars—and that's what's got us to where we are right now," Brian Vanicek with the SPJST Fraternal Society said.
Ten of the 13 sculptures are finished and organizers are ready to move forward on construction, but they need about $400,000 to complete the project.
"I see it as a message of vigilance, for now and for generations to come, that sometimes freedom comes at a price," Vanicek said.
The nonprofit group Join Hands America is leading the push to raise funds to complete the November 5th, 2009 Memorial. One hundred percent of money raised goes to the project.
Learn more about the tribute at their website JoinHandsAmerica.com.