A star-studded day to honor and celebrate - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

A star-studded day to honor and celebrate

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Wednesday's benefit concert was all about honoring our fallen five heroes and supporting their families. Two months later, we remember:
David Wyatt, Skip Wells, Thomas Sullivan, Carson Holmquist, and Randall Smith.

The day's worth of events celebrated them and their sacrifice, helped raise money to support their families, and once again allowed a grateful community to say thank you.
"Any time we get a chance to honor these five, I think we ought to do it," said Bobby Anderson of East Ridge. He was along the parade route as Chattanooga did it up right. The armed forces procession through the heart of town was the beginning of a program called Chattanooga Unite.

Once they reached the Tennessee River and the 21st Century Waterfront, choirs, superstars and electric guitars took over. "We have come here to the river to honor five men who gave their lives protecting their city," boomed former Chattanoogan Samuel L. Jackson who served as Master of Ceremonies. "Not all of these men were from here, but they made a stand here for us. They gave their lives here for us; not on some foreign soil, not in some foreign war, but here on this ground, by this river."

The Navy's Blue Angels roared through the Scenic City skies about half-past four, and a Big Easy native popped in to play, as well. "When I was invited to come, there was no hesitation," Harry Connick, Jr. told Channel 3 Eyewitness News Reporter Kelly McCarthy.

Connick was joined by the East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra and the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Chorus for a soulful rendition of Eternal Father, The Naval Hymn. Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, he is no stranger to coming together after tragedy. "This is yet another opportunity to show how we prevail as a country," he explained. "And nothing is going to keep us down. So, in my small way, I'm truly honored and I hope the people enjoy my performance."

The guy who got this whole idea started, country artist Brantley Gilbert, closed out the evening with some high-powered friends: Colt Ford, Aaron Lewis, and Trace Adkins. They jammed right up to a true Chattanooga grand finale...fireworks.

The explosive and patriotic send-off was befitting of Jackson's charge issued earlier in the day. "On behalf of Chattanooga," he said, "I have a message for all who would seek to strike terror in our hearts; who would seek to change how we go about our lives; who would seek to divide us with hate and fear; who would seek to bring us down...wrong town!"

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