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Today's guest blogger is Guideposts editorial assistant Allison Churchill.
“Another shooting on Fort Hood just now...”
I was getting ready to leave for a monthly young adult mass last night when I saw that on my Facebook feed. Not so long ago I was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, back when I was serving as a public affairs non-commissioned officer in the Army.
Immediately I thought about my friend Ashley, one of my former barracks roommates at Fort Hood. I thought about my friend James, who just returned from Afghanistan last month and was going on leave soon.
And then I thought about November 5, 2009. I was due to separate from the Army in a few days. Normally soldiers move out of the barracks when they sign out on terminal leave, but I still had a lot of paperwork and processing to finish.
I don’t remember exactly what time the sirens started blaring that day, but I remember thinking they were probably warning us of severe weather, as they had over the weekend. Then the phone calls, texts and messages started pouring in. I didn’t have a television or computer, so all my information came from concerned friends and family. My mom said one channel was reporting it was a gang of shooters, spread out all over post.
Was that what it was like yesterday?
I stayed between the two beds in my room back in 2009, thankful that I’d flipped the one closest to the window. It was high enough to hide me from anyone who might peek in. I later learned the shootings took place on the other end of post, where soldiers get medical checkups and do paperwork.
I realize that after two deployments and that awful day, I’m incredibly fortunate I didn’t develop post-traumatic stress disorder. But as we’ve been working on the series “Our Returning Troops” at Guideposts, my heart’s broken for those who did, for my brothers and sisters in arms who have traumatic brain injuries and don’t understand what’s happening to them.
Know someone who’s suffering? Get them to talk. There are resources available, like Military OneSource (800-342-9647) and the Veterans Crisis Line (800-273-TALK).
Thankfully, my friends at Fort Hood are OK, but there are so many who need our prayers, along with their families. Pray for them.