Community honors Chattanooga's 'Fallen Five' with day-long celebration

by: Rikki Klaus Updated:

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - He “felt a calling to serve in the Marines.” Those words came from the family of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Skip Wells, 21, shortly after learning he was killed by a gunman who opened fire on two Chattanooga, Tennessee military facilities, killing a total of five people July 16, 2015.

Sunday, the Chattanooga community honored all five men, showing they are Chattanooga Strong -- celebrating the men’s lives and their sacrifice two years later.

Channel 2’s Rikki Klaus was in Chattanooga Sunday as dozens of people gathered at the Tennessee River Park to listen to music and remember the sacrifice of five service members slain two years ago by terrorist gunfire.

These are remarkable people, and their patriotism is inspiring to all of us,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke told Klaus.

The Chattanooga Strong community concert took place just across the street from the recruiting center, where the deadly attack happened on July 16, 2015.

“It’s kind of only right to be here this weekend,” Lindsey Pittman told Klaus, saying she lost her best friend, Wells, that day.


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Wells was from Marietta. Pittman said they met in 6th grade and went to the same church. Their families were close

“It’s really hard. And it’s hard not being able to pick up the phone and call somebody that you’re so used to calling,” Pittman told Klaus.

Pittman wants people to remember that not only was her best friend a hero, but he was someone who meant the world to his loved ones and friends.

“He was always there, always smiling, always cracking jokes. He was just the nicest all around person that you could ever want to have in your life,” Pittman said.

Local officials in Chattanooga told Klaus they are planning a permanent memorial to be installed next year to honor the men.