UPDATE: Four Marines and a sailor killed during an attack at the Chattanooga U.S. Naval Reserve Center last year have been honored at a memorial outside the state Capitol in Nashville.
The Friday service memorialized Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, and Marine Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan and Lance Cpl. Squire Wells.
All were awarded the Purple Heart in April after federal officials determined the attack was inspired by foreign terrorists. Family members are being given the Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal.
The ceremony also memorialized Sgt. Gary Lee Reese with the Tennessee Army National Guard, who was killed in Iraq in 2005, and 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr., a Marine killed in battle in World War II whose remains were returned to Knoxville last fall.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Major General Terry “Max” Haston of the Tennessee Military Department honored seven service members killed in action.
“When we lower our flags to half-staff and lower our heads to pray, let us remember the significance of the loss of these precious lives and the legacies that not only live on in the families they leave behind, but in each of us as Tennesseans and Americans,” Grinder said. “We remain an incredibly strong country and state due to their selfless and courageous sacrifice.”
Haslam, who awarded the Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal to the Fallen Five, said “Over the years, we have met families and heard the courageous stories of their loved ones killed in battlefields abroad, but last July, five service members were killed serving right here in Tennessee. The tragedy in Chattanooga is one of many reminders of the dangers facing our troops today. We honor those five brave men who lost their lives that day and remember all the men and women who willingly lay down their lives for our freedom.”
Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medals were not presented on behalf of USMC Gunnery Sergeant Sullivan and USMC Staff Sergeant Wyatt, but will be presented to their family at a future date.
PREVIOUS STORY: Governor Bill Haslam has announced he will honor the fallen five as part of a Memorial Day ceremony.
The Governor will remember the lives of Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, Marines Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Gunnery Sgt.Thomas Sullivan and Lance Cpl."Skip" Wells.
The governor will also memorialize Sgt. Gary Reese, who was killed in Iraq in 2005, and 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman , a Medal of Honor recipient who was killed during the Battle of Tarawa during World War II, but whose remains weren't identified until last year.
The ceremony will be held Friday at 10 a.m. central time at the War Memorial Plaza in Nashville.