#NoogaStrong: The stories of One Year Later
As the Fallen Five are honored, July 16, 2015 is also being remembered as the day that changed Chattanooga.
- One year after the attack on Chattanooga that claimed the lives of five U.S. servicemen, July 16, 2015 is being remembered by many as a day that changed Chattanooga forever.
- Several events are planned in Chattanooga to allow people to show their support and honor the Fallen Five in a variety of ways Saturday.
- The attacks, which the FBI determined were "inspired by terrorist organization propaganda" then paved the way for the servicemen to be awarded Purple Hearts posthumously.
- Changes have been made to the way state law enforcement and local police handle active shooter situations by providing free training for companies and schools.
- Coins left on the Lee Highway Memorial signify different levels of the military relationship between the deceased and the person leaving the coin behind.
- The morning of July 16, Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher was on the road to Nashville for a conference when the alerts started coming in rapidly: service members were harmed; one of his officers, wounded.
- For the first time, LCmdr Tim White is sharing details about what happened inside the gates moments after the shooter broke in, and why he stands by his choice to fire back at the gunman.
- Friday night, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Chattanooga attacks, a special edition of the Nightfall music series honored the Fallen Five with Operation Song, pairs veterans and their families with professional musicians to help them grieve and heal.
- A local military wife, Kelly Cotton, has become best friends with some of the women whose husbands were killed on July 16th. Her husband serves at the U.S. Naval Operations center in Chattanooga. She's helped support several of the widows who lost their husbands that fateful day.
- The first of Saturday's events was the Chattanooga Heroes Run, which had nearly 1,500 participants and past the U.S. Naval Operations Support Center where the five U.S. servicemen were killed on July 16, 2015.
- Downtown along the banks of the Tennessee River, supporters and officials marked the day by dropping flower petals into the river, and gathering U.S. service members to remember the lives lost last year.
- At UTC Saturday afternoon, people from different religions came together for an interfaith service, honoring the Fallen Five.
Lorri Wyatt, the widow of U.S.M.C. Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, takes some comfort in continuing her husband's work with the Marines Toys for Tots campaign.
In May, she co-wrote “Chattanooga Rain” with some of Nashville’s top musicians as part of Operation Song. The project helps military families and veterans express their feelings through original songs. Her song was also a way to thank the Chattanooga area community for its outpouring of love and support.
"As a mother, all you want to do is protect him, I couldn't that day, I couldn't protect him," Cathy Well said. when she spoke with Channel 3 about her son, U.S.M.C. Lance Corporal Skip Wells.
"Chattanooga has been the best city. I mean they have supported all of us so much and so well," said Cathy.
While Cathy is grateful for the support given to her by so many people in Chattanooga and beyond, she realizes her own healing has not yet begun.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith was a young family man who stepped up to serve our country and left a mark on the Chattanooga community.
Randall's number one priority was his wife and three beautiful little girls who received a Purple Heart in their father's honor. Randall also had dreams beyond the Navy, as he was working on his degree in hospital administration.
READ MORE | One Year Later: Randall Smith an 'American Hero'
Mural artist Kevin Bate said "You know the whole reason I started this was for Carson Holmquist's son Wyatt. I had seen a picture of him holding up that sign that said 'We've waited 244 days for this.'
"That one sign just destroyed me, it was so sad for me. I've got a son about Wyatt Holmquist's age."
Bate wants Chattanooga to remember the Fallen Five and he hopes young Wyatt will always feel at home in the town his dad died protecting.
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan was a marine, a son, a brother, and a friend. He was 40-years-old when he made the ultimate sacrifice on July 16th of 2015.
Sullivan helped more than a dozen of his fellow servicemen escape when a gunman opened fire at the Naval Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway. He turned back for two others who were unaccounted for when he was shot and killed.
As Commanding Officer of the Navy Operational Support Center on Amnicola Highway and the servicemen inside, LCmdr Tim White said he had a responsibility on July 16th. His priority was to keep his Navy Sailors and Marines safe.
For the first time, LCmdr White is sharing details with Channel 3 about what happened inside the gates moments after the shooter broke in, and why he stands by his choice to fire back at the gunman.
Chattanooga police officer Dennis Pedigo suffered a gunshot wound to his leg July 16th during a gun battle with the shooter.
In an exclusive interview, Officer Pedigo says the scars remind him of our Fallen Five servicemen and their ultimate sacrifice. He's thankful for all of the community's support this past year.
Pedigo was working traffic detail that day when the call came out over the radio. From traffic to terrorism on Chattanooga soil, it's a reality he and his family have been working through together.