The city of Chattanooga honored local veterans during a flag-raising ceremony overlooking the Veterans Bridge Friday.
The city changes out the flags that adorn the Veterans Bridge twice a year, including on Veterans Day. Each flag honors one local veteran.
At the ceremony, families listened as Mayor Andy Berke honored their loved ones. The families stood as their veteran’s name was called.
“Because of your service and the service of your loved ones, we sit here today in the greatest country in the world as free citizens,” Berke said during the ceremony.
Paratrooper Lonnie A. Floyd’s sister, Brenda Underwood, was happy to attend the ceremony when she found out her brother would be recognized.
“It means the world … because we do everything we can to keep his memory alive, and this is just one way of doing that,” Underwood said. “We feel like as long as we can keep honoring him, keeping his picture out and talking about him, he’ll never be forgotten.”
The mayor also honored the five service members killed in the July 16, 2015, terrorist attacks.
“[It was] a day that we saw what terror looks like in a hometown that I always considered to be immune from anything like that,” Berke said. “[It was] one of the most traumatic days of my life, and I’m sure it was [for you] and the people that you love.”
Flags have been dedicated to the Fallen Five. Plaques recognizing their sacrifice lie underneath five flags on the side of the bridge with the walkway.
The mayor ended the service by saying:
As we witness these flags flying on our way to work or on our way to see things throughout our city, let us never forget how much sacrifice families have made for our country. Those veterans who have fought overseas, those who lost their lives in Chattanooga in July two years ago and those among us who … still have people serving today—let their memories comfort us, let their sacrifice comfort us, and let their work embolden us to continue to fight to be the greatest country in the world.
See pictures from the ceremony below.