Gov. Greg Abbott Friday awarded Texas Purple Heart medals Friday to the families of murdered victims and survivors of the 2009 Fort Hood attack.
The Texas Purple Heart Award was first created in 2005, but a 2015 law made Fort Hood victims eligible.
"For all those involved, the journey of healing has been long and ongoing," said Joleen Cahill, wife of murdered civilian physician's assistant Michael Cahill.
Former Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lundsford, shot seven times in the attack, said his struggle for full Army benefits is still ongoing.
"The nation as a whole has also rallied around us. It's just that some of the powers that be have been dragging their feet," Lundsford said.
Former Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, shot six times, said Friday's ceremony was a positive step.
"It does bring a measure of healing, but obviously we still are struggling to get our wounds classified as combat related," Manning said.
The November 2009 shooting happened at a Fort Hood readiness facility, where soldiers were preparing to deploy for combat.
Former Army Maj. Nidal Hasan was convicted in 2013 of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 31 more of attempted murder. Evidence showed Hasan had ties to terrorism.
Abbott said the case seemed clear to him when he first heard about it in 2009.
"A senseless terrorist attack on our own Fort Hood, in our own state of Texas," Abbott said.
But the U.S. government labeled it "workplace violence" and not an act of war in order to convict Hasan of capital murder and win death sentences.
After Army Purple Hearts were awarded to victims last year, the Army Secretary was quoted saying he would push for full benefits.
"He pushed it down to the Army disability agency but unfortunately they still refuse to do it," Manning said.
Friday's ceremony also included dedication of a memorial pavilion beside the Killeen Convention Center for the 2009 Fort Hood attack, with monuments for each of the 13 who died.