To the Obama Administration, the men and women who were shot down by Maj. NIdal Hasan at Ft. Hood in 2009 were victims of 'workplace violence.' But the State of Texas today declared them to be 'casualties of war,' and made them eligible for all of the benefits the state provides to people wounded in battle, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"Each of the active and retired military members who died in the Ft. Hood terrorist attack lost their life while assigned to duty in Texas or in support of the military in Texas," said State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, whose office runs the Texas Veterans Land Board. "They were physically on duty in Texas and chose to remain until the time of their death in defense of both the citizens of the United States and Texas. Like Travis and Crockett, their spilled blood remains forever intermingled with Texas soil."
Patterson says the Texas General Land Office dates back to the founding of the Republic of Texas in 1936, and it's goal was to make sure that veterans of the Texas Revolution were given the land rights they were promised in exchange for their role in liberating Texas.
The Texas Veterans Land Board was created in 1946, to do the same for the Texans who helped liberate Europe and Asia in World War Two.
Among the benefits Texas offers to those who served in war, and those who were wounded in battle include below-market interest rate loans for land and home purchases, as well as for home improvements. The VLB also operates eight Texas State veterans Homes that serve more than a thousand veterans and their families. It also operated four dignified places of rest for the free burial of veterans with full military honors at Texas State Veterans Cemeteries.
"This wasn't workplace violence, these were casualties of war, and we are going to change the rules to give these families full access to VLB benefits, Patterson said. "We will let the lawyers work out the details, but I intend to make sure we honor their sacrifice."
Patterson says an 'exception' will be made for Ft. Hood casualties to rules which require that recipients of VLB benefits must live in Texas.