By Debbie Gregory.
An anonymous donor from New York gave 3,000 flowers to the city of Chattanooga to be used for memorial and funeral services for the five service members slain in the attacks on the Navy/Marine operations center. The flowers, echoing the colors of the American flag, were donated on behalf of the staff and residents at the Col. C. David Merkel, MD Veterans’ Residence program in Saranac Lake, N.Y. The center treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as earlier conflicts, who have post-traumatic stress disorder and addictions.
A group of some 40 volunteers organized by the United Way of Greater Chattanooga crowded into a room, stripping and snipping and placing red, white and blue blossoms into pails of water.
Staff Sgt. David Wyatt of Delaware was laid to rest last Friday at Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, TN. Hundreds of people lined the funeral procession route from the church to his final resting place.
Visitation for Marine Sgt. Carson Holmquist was held on Saturday at Grantsburgh High School in Wisconsin. More than 60 people in military uniforms saluted as an honor guard of Marine pallbearers carried Sgt. Holmquist’s flag-draped coffin to a hearse on the way to a private burial with military honors.
Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” Wells was buried on Sunday, his funeral held at First Baptist Church of Woodstock. He was the youngest of the group, at only 21 years old.
Also on Sunday, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan was buried at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Massachusetts, following funeral services at Holy Cross Church in Springfield.
Visitation and funeral services for Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith will be held tomorrow, July 28th at First Baptist Church in Fort Oglethorpe, GA. with burial immediately following at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has declared memorials at Lee Highway and Amnicola Highway as “protected memorial services” which will shield them from any protests.
Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of these five patriotic Americans who selflessly chose to serve their country.
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Flowers, Funerals, and Flowing Tears: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory