HOUSTON, Texas – U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén is getting a proper send-off in her hometown of Houston.
Hundreds have arrived at specialist Guillén’s high school to pay respect to not only her – but her family as well, who has fought tirelessly for justice and answers in her murder on Fort Hood.
It is a somber moment – as Guillén’s family prepared for their entrance into the memorial held in Vanessa’s honor.
Vanessa’s little sister Lupe lead the way – as she has since the late Fort Hood soldier was murdered.
People traveled from far and wide to pay their final respects to Vanessa – including veterans who once served on Fort Hood.
The Houston native’s story has captured the hearts and interest of thousands across the country – bringing several issues including violence and sexual misconduct on Fort Hood to the forefront.
“She was supposed to be protected on a military base at all times no matter what the situation was, and that needs to be brought to light for anybody, male or female in the military base, that’s being sexually harassed,” says Gynthia Guillén, Vanessa’s relative.
Citizens of Houston are paying respect to a young woman they consider bold, ambitious and honorable.
Some are overcome with emotion and making note of the irony that the soldier devoted to protecting the country was left with little to no protection for herself.
“She shouldn’t have to fend for her life. She came to protect and to serve her country,” says Houston resident Sherry Browning. “She shocked a lot of people. For her to have an amazing job like that, and for something to happen to her like that, that was just out of evil.”
Some are calling for prayer.
“Can you imagine if that was your daughter or my daughter? I mean, let’s just pray for the family,” says Houston resident Henry Balerio.
Some are calling for change. And others are calling for justice.
“Hopefully Vanessa receives all the justice she deserves in this matter. Everyone that’s responsible needs to be charged and taken care of,” says military mother Laura Hernandez.
This memorial will go well into the night, as thousands continue to pay their respect to the Guillén family. The family will have a private funeral on Saturday, where Vanessa will finally be laid to rest.
For more information, you can view our previous story here.