most of y'all know where i live ... central texas. i was born and grew up in this military town; an army brat of a hard-working and dedicated soldier i called daddy.
having spent all of my 48 years in the shadows of fort hood, i always felt a sense of safety, security, knowing that the "good guys" were right next door. training and firing their "big guns" to protect us. everytime the windows rattled, my mama would reassure me that all the noise was to help keep us safe.
as the years passed, i told my own babies that. "shhh, sweetie. it's just the soldiers at fort hood practicing and training to keep us all safe." i guess it worked. they seemed to be at peace with all of the noise coming from ft. hood, just as i had.
at some point, it became a part of who we were. like hearing the birds chirp, the cars pass by, the military copters flying overhead and the sudden thunderous booms ... it was so natural, commonplace, that we didn't notice it any longer.
then on a beautiful autumn day, 18 years ago, our community's fragile innocence was shattered when a lunatic drove his truck into our luby's restaurant and shot and killed 23 people, wounding many more.
my hometown was never the same. shortly afterward, the killeen high school kangaroos won the football state championship title and that was the beginning of our community's long, painful path to something we could only hope would resemble life as we used to know it.
we have come a long way, this hearty military town called killeen. most of the soldiers here are too young to remember the 1991 tragedy, which was a national news event. we healed, each in our own way ... but with plenty of scars that remained (emotional as well as physical).
with the unfolding of yesterday's horrific events, i'm certain i wasn't the only one who experienced eerily familiar feelings: shock, disbelief, overwhelming sadness and yes, anger.
as a mother, i can't help but think of the little ones whose lives are forever altered because their mommy or daddy was senselessly gunned down yesterday. as a wife, i can't help but think of the spouse who is left behind to explain all of this damn craziness to those little ones.
i asked a friend last night, "what is WRONG with this world?!"
i don't have the answer. but i know that something is different today. we've lost another piece of innocence and a semblance of security that we've been rebuilding for the past 18 years.
and tonight, what words of assurance will young parents whisper to their babes?
my thoughts and prayers are for all the soldiers, their families and friends all over the world ... and for this place i call home: killeen/fort hood, texas.