Families of fallen heroes now eligible for benefits, support the - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Families of fallen heroes now eligible for benefits, support they couldn't get before

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Nine months after the attack, the families of four Marines received one of the military's highest honors: The Purple Heart. 

"I guess there's the moral victor in getting it recognized and acknowledging that they were attacked by an enemy on domestic soil," Lance Corporal Skip Wells Foundation Co-Founder Dr. Jason Weeks said. 

The FBI and Navy Criminal Investigative Service determined the July 16th attack in Chattanooga was inspired by a foreign terrorist group, making the Marines eligible for the medal. 

SLIDESHOW | Purple Heart ceremony held to honor Chattanooga's Four Fallen Marines

The ruling also makes the families of the fallen servicemen eligible for benefits and support that they couldn't get before. 

Like Cathy Wells, the mother of LCpl. Skip Wells, who can now become a Gold Star Mother. 

"She can officially have a Gold Star flag on her flagpole in her front yard and not feel uncomfortable about it. People had brought one to her and said you need to hang this anyway and she wouldn't do it," Weeks added. 

Flora Kernea knows what it's like to lose a spouse and son in the military. 

As the president of the Gold Star Wives Magnolia Chapter, she says the bond between other spouses and mothers is hard to put into words. 

"We are a band of sisters," she said, "Don't cry alone, call me. Because I had to have someone to listen to 47 years ago."

The ultimate thank you to the families of the men that gave their all. 

Purple Heart metals were presented to the family of Petty Officer Randall Smith and the recruiter who was injured, Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley in separate ceremonies earlier this year. 

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