Officials break ground on the “Wreath of Honor” memorial in the Tennessee RiverPark on Thursday. (Photo: Staff)

Officials with the City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County broke ground this morning a permanent memorial to honor the service members who lost their lives during the July 16, 2015 shooting.

Fallen Five Memorial “Wreath of Honor” will represent the “notions of eternity, continuity and memory” with an artistic representation of a wreath-laying to recognize “honor and sacrifice.”

Designed by Houston artists Shane Albritton and Norman Lee, the wreath will be comprised of metal bands held together by five pillars representing the five men who died during the shooting at the Armed Services Recruitment Center on Lee Highway and the U.S. Naval Operational Support Center, the latter just feet away from the memorial.


The memorial will take about a year to be installed. Locals are encouraged to help provide words of tribute to be included on the 75 panels that make up the wreath. The phrases will be cut into the metal bands. Suggestions so far have included “Nooga Strong,” “Home of the Free because of the brave” and “Never Forget.”

Submit your words of tribute here. 

“Wreath of Honor” designed by Shane Albritton and Norman Lee. (Photo: Contributed)

“This is a place for respect and for honoring, but it’s not a place for us to be sad,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said during the ceremony.

The $750,000 memorial was paid for, in part, by donations from the Chattanooga Heroes Run and Erlanger, along with funding from the city and county.

The casualties were four U.S. Marines who died at the scene and one U.S. Navy sailor who died at a hospital two days later: Marine Corps Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Navy Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith, Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Squire K. “Skip” Wells and Marine Corps Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger speaks at the event. (Photo: Staff)