‘Wreath of Honor’ Memorial dedicated, honoring the Fallen Five
On July 16 2015, Muhammad Abdul-Azeez opened fire on two military installations in Chattanooga, killing four United States Marines and a U.S. Navy Sailor in what was later identified by federal authorities as an "act of terrorism." Those fallen service members were honored Saturday night.
The rain changed the plans and the service moved to the Hubert Frye Center where everyone packed under the pavilion. One service member who spoke believes the event was a perfect representation of how close the community has become since that day.
A wife of a fallen service member said, "Our men up in heaven are looking down on us, and it's rain bringing them down to be with us. I think that it just symbolizes them watching over us."
Jasmine Holmquist and Lori Wyatt both lost their husbands on July 16, 2015, but they felt their presence at the memorial dedication.
While the Tennessee Riverpark brings back the memories of that day, they were able to find a new sense of calmness.
"There's so much pain to this area. Knowing today just driving up to something new, something that just gives us a lot of peace-- I think that helped make this place a better place,” Jasmine Homquist said.
Holmquist believes the location is perfect.
"The place that it's in-- my husband loved to hunt, he loved to fish, and here we're by the woods, we're by the river, it's right where he would want it to be,” Holmquist tells us.
Despite the rain, the community united to dedicate the memorial in the same way they’ve united since July 16. Family members of the fallen five say they are grateful for all the love and kindness they have received.
Holmquist says, "I've seen so much support and love from everyone. People I don't even know-- they have done an outpouring of things for me."
Family members describe the support as overwhelming at times. They have peace knowing there is a place for people to remember Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Lance Cpl. Skip Wells and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith.
"The public needs to have a place to remember them and to know how important they were. They're not just five men, they are five men that served this country,” Holmquist said.
The community raised $825,000 to make this memorial a reality. A spokesperson at the dedication said the memorial is going to be looked after on a daily basis to make sure it’s taken care of.