The Man Who Built A Simple, But Powerful Memorial For Those Killed At Fort Hood

A tribute he never wanted to do again.

1. The Fort Hood community was left shocked after one of their soldiers opened fire at the base Wednesday, killing himself and three others, and wounding 16 more.

2. But one veteran in the military-heavy, central Texas community has a way of coping with this kind of loss.

3. Meet Bob. He is an Army veteran of more than 20 years and lives 10 minutes from Fort Hood.


4. At his church nearby his home, Bob planted flags into the lawn, one to signify each person injured in the attack.


5. Then Bob walked back across the street, back behind his house, and began work on three new crosses.


“I build crosses for the deceased in any tragedy at Fort Hood,” Bob said. “I’ve had to build too many.”

6. Bob’s shed is just a cluttered nook behind his house.


7. He searched through a large pile of scrap wood, looking for the right pieces.


8. He lifted them onto his workbench and made his cuts.


10. “They don’t have to be perfect,” Bob said, flicking away scraps of wood. “The original cross was scrap wood, too, you know.”


11. Then he lined up the boards and began to sand them.


12. “This kind of stuff never used to happen when I was in,” Bob said.

13. He lined the pieces up and began pounding…


14. …and drilling.


15. Until he had three handmade crosses.


16. He carried those crosses to the church.


Assisted by his other friend and fellow church member, also named Bob.

17. Both Bobs have more than 50 years of Army service between them. “Hammering these crosses is just a continuation of our service,” Bob said.


18. Bob walked back and got a pail of paint…


19. …and the veterans kneeled before the crosses and started painting.


20. The display is identical to the one Bob made in 2009 after the last deadly killing at Fort Hood.


That display included 13 crosses and 32 flags.

21. “You know the dangers when you sign up for the military,” he said. “You have to be prepared for them.”


22. “But the greatest benefit of the military is you know you have a family there to support you.”

23. “No matter what.”

Check out more articles on!