CHATTANOOGA, TN (WAFF) - Lee Highway in Chattanooga has become a place for people to come together and mourn the loss of the four Marines killed during Thursday's shootings. A sailor who was seriously injured died Saturday.
Since the shootings, the memorial has been growing and has become a gathering place. Everyone is saying the same thing - they can not believe this happened there and they can not believe that it happened to Marines.
All day Friday people stopped by to drop off flowers, pray and grieve.
Parents took their kids by to see the memorial and the crime scene. I talked to one mom who says she thinks it's important to tell kids the truth and explain to them what happened here in their city. One little boy came by earlier dressed as a marine. Lots of people here also said they were nearby when the shooting happened. It sounds like a cliche but pretty much everyone here said the same two things- they can't believe something like this happened in this city and they can't believe it happened to marines.
One of the Marines killed, Sergeant David Wyatt lives about 20 minutes from the naval reserve support center where he was killed. Neighbors were just learning what had happened to the Marine who lived next door to them. One neighbor said Wyatt "had a lot of pride for his country and a lot of pride for his family."
Neighbors say he had two young children. This senseless tragedy has the entire nation reeling, but it's especially hitting close to home for military members and their families. One woman took her 5-year-old son Blake out to add flowers to the memorial.
Blake was dressed up like a marine, just like his dad. Blake's father couldn't go to the memorial, so his mom decided to take Blake instead.
"His father is in the marine corp, and he's not able to come to Chattanooga today, so I wanted to bring his son out... like a stand-in for him... cause it's pretty hard," said Blake's mom Ashley Miller.
She also said she thinks it's important to talk to kids about what happened. She said she wants Blake to know just how brave Marines are.
Folks around Chattanooga were praying, crying and trying to understand.
"Who...who could have done this. And why?" residents asked.
Across the city, people are coming together to honor the fallen.
"My heart goes out for these men," one Chattanooga resident said.
For one Air force veteran, honoring the victims means showing his national pride.
"I'm pretty patriotic," he said.
As soon as he heard the news, Darrell went out and bought around 175 American flags - one for each neighbor and then some. With a little help from his friends, Darrell placed a flag in front of every mailbox.
"It looks good to me and I think most everyone appreciates it," he said.
Darrell's neighbors definitely do. But for Darrell, it's more about the American pride than the personal praise
"We don't want the compliments, we just do it," he said.
Each flag represents a nod to the country, and the fallen.
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