As President Obama spoke of old “wounds” at Fort Hood this week, the White House declined a request from a survivor of the 2009 massacre there to meet with Obama for a few minutes so the veteran could explain face-to-face how he believes the government has mistreated and disrespected the victims of that attack.
Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford (ret.) was shot seven times in November 2009 when Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood, killing 13 people. Despite Hasan’s admission that he carried out the attack on behalf of the Taliban and revelations that he had been in contact with high-profile al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, the Department of Defense has refused to classify the shooting as “terrorism,” which the survivors claim in lawsuit against the government has meant they’ve been denied Purple Hearts and combat-related benefits afforded to victims of other terrorist attacks.
“As you may know, the President and high-ranking members of the military promised me, my family and the other Fort Hood terror attack survivors that the federal government would ‘make them whole.’ After more than four and one-half years, however, the government has yet to make good on this promise,” Lunsford wrote to Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough a day before Obama’s visit. “We believe that if the President could hear, first-hand, our plight and our mistreatment at the hands of his bureaucracy, that he would take the steps needed to set things right. Therefore, we ask for ten minutes of his time.”