KILLEEN, Texas (KXAN) - Over the last three weeks, Michael Cahill’s story has been recounted multiple times.
Prosecutors and eyewitnesses told the jury panel in Major Nidal Hasan’s trial how Cahill ran towards the barrage of bullets while so many others fled for safety. Armed with a chair he tried to take down the gunman.
He was unsuccessful, and it cost him his life.
But there is something else about Cahill that his daughter Keely Vanacker wants everyone to remember.
“My dad never went anywhere without a cup of coffee. Nowhere,” said Vanacker.
That is why in future years, when people stop to remember the November 5th, 2009 attack, they will see Cahill’s coffee mug sculpted from bronze.
Bronze sculptures depicting the favorite items for each of the 13 victims were unveiled in Killeen on Monday.
A Scooby-Doo sat in front of a picture of Private First Class Francheska Velez.
A San Diego Charger cap remembered Aaron Nemelka.
Each sculpture, crafted by Troy Kelly, memorialized not just a soldier, but a person.
“If you ask a family member of someone who lost anyone, they will tell you they just don’t want you to forget who their loved one was,” said Leila Hunt Willingham. Her brother J.D. Hunt will be remembered with a sculpture of a greyhound named Rex.
But a trio of Texas congressmen do not feel the people injured or killed in the attack have been remembered well enough.
“There are the best of the best,” said Representative John Carter. “And we lost the best.”
On the same day the sculptures were unveiled, Senator John Cornyn along with Congressmen Roger Williams and John Carter unveiled the Honoring Fort Hood Heroes Act.
The proposed legislation would retroactively grant federal support and benefits for the victims and families who have yet to receive any aid because the attack was designated “workplace violence.”
It would also award Purple Hearts to the wounded.
“We are free to speak now and call it what it was,” said Cornyn. “An act of terrorism.”
Cornyn said they wanted to wait until the trial was completed, but now that justice has been given to Hasan, it is time to give it to families.
“We are righting a wrong.”
The benefits will be the same given to victims of the battlefield as well as the same given to victims of the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
“The benefits can be shared, the medals can be awarded, and we can give these battlefield warriors they recognition they deserve,” said Carter who told media members the proposed bill has support on both sides of the aisle in Washington.
It will be up to congress to pass the bill, but anyone can donate to the Fort Hood Memorial being planned in Killeen. The memorial will cost an estimated $400,000 and will house the bronze sculptures on city property.
For information on who to donate, visit FortHoodMemorial.com.
Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday at the State Capitol in hopes that a Bastrop man can win a new trial.
An unusually cold blast of arctic air arriving early Thursday will be followed by an increasing chance of freezing drizzle/rain and sleet by Friday morning.
The HealthCare.gov website is working more smoothly for central Texans.
City leaders in West Lake Hills discussed the ongoing concern with the city's water system Wednesday night. The problems arise when water is needed most; fighting fires.
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
Former Georgetown Police Officer Stephanie Brown said her ex-boyfriend, former Round Rock Officer Eric Poteet, made up accusations against her after she broke up with him.