Visitors from across region and country pay respects at Chattano - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Visitors from across region and country pay respects at Chattanooga memorial sites

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"It doesn't matter if you're a Vietnam vet or a Marine that just came back from Afghanistan. We're all brothers, and there's a bond that's hard to describe," said Eddie Graves, a Vietnam veteran.

Graves drove from Knoxville to see the growing memorial on Amnicola Highway that honors the five servicemen killed last week.

"I just had to get down here and pay my respect to these guys," he said.

 "It's heart wrenching and heartbreaking to me to know that just right down this road right here, five men died needlessly," said Darrell Lunsford, another Vietnam veteran from Rhea County.

"If you have somebody hurt or killed like this, it's like one of your family members just got killed," said Joseph Busch, a Navy veteran visiting from New York.

The Navy motto, "Don't Give Up The Ship" now flies on a flag behind crime scene tape.

The vets say that miles don't make a difference in times like these.

"Doesn't matter who or where or what time they served. The bond's there. The bond is always, always there," Busch said.

While the bond is there, Graves points out a difference across decades. During the Vietnam War, he explained how his only worry on U.S. soil was family he had to leave behind.

But today, he says the worry -- and the risk -- is right here at home.

"The threat wasn't there like it is now to our homeland, and it's just hard to understand," Graves said.

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