One Year Later: Lorri Wyatt takes it one day a time
Saturday is the one-year anniversary of the July 16 shootings in Chattanooga, and each of the families of the five fallen servicemen are still dealing with their loss.
Saturday is the one-year anniversary of the July 16 shootings in Chattanooga, and each of the families of the five fallen servicemen are still dealing with their loss. For the widow of Marine Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, she takes comfort in continuing his good work, and ensuring his legacy lives on.
As the holidays approached, Lorri Wyatt had yet to make any public statements, five months after the terrorist attack that took her husband’s life. But knowing David Wyatt’s dedication to the Marines Toys for Tots campaign, she took up where he left off, chairing the annual event. It was the first step in a long, difficult healing process.
"I think I was in a fog for a long, long time. It's crazy that it's been a year," Lorri said.
Since then, she has found other outlets with which to channel her emotions, and to celebrate David’s life. In May, she co-wrote “Chattanooga Rain” with some of Nashville’s top musicians as part of Operation Song. It’s a project to help military families and veterans express their feelings through original songs.The song was also a way to thank the Chattanooga area community for its outpouring of love and support.
Lorri said, "I feel them, I feel their love and support. It has not gone unrecognized."
Lorri is a Montana native, but has adopted the city where David served, and is buried. Now, this is home. "I think Chattanooga is just amazing," Lorri said. "The support they have given me is incredible. And I have a wonderful group of friends who help me make through every day."
She’s also thankful for the lasting memorials, like Kevin Bate’s recently completed mural on McCallie Avenue. Lorri and her children were invited to apply the finishing touches, and she says they were honored to be a part of a project that ensures David Wyatt will never be forgotten. "The mural is amazing," she said. "Kevin let the kids be a part of it, and there will always be a piece of them in that, you know?"
Lorri says she has been invited to participate in several of this weekend’s memorial programs, but she hasn’t yet made any commitments. She says she has not been looking forward to this date, and some days are harder than others. Still, she appreciates the continued love and support from her friends, neighbors, and people she hasn’t even met.