Today has been a tough day for those of us who live in and around Chattanooga. This morning, a gunman went to an Armed Forces recruitment center and opened fire and left the scene to do a similar deed at another military site a few miles away. The search for the man ended in the early afternoon, and the reports of the aftermath started coming in. When the dust settled, four Marines lost their lives and the gunman was killed. One Marine and one Chattanooga Police officer were wounded and taken to a local hospital.
It’s one of those surreal times when you’re watching social media talk about events unfolding just a couple of miles down the road from you. I know we’ve always talked about being more vigilant after attacks hitting the United States, but, admittedly, in the back of our minds we never would have thought an act of terrorism would have hit the Scenic City.
We have received words of sympathy and encouragement have been coming in all across our nation. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who was Chattanooga’s mayor in the early 2000s, delivered remarks on the floor of the United States Senate about the tragic events that happened. President Barack Obama offered condolences to the families of the Marines who had fallen in the line of duty and promised a thorough investigation.
Georgia’s congressional delegation also offered words of condolence. Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA-14), whose district borders Chattanooga, offered this statement:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Marines who were killed in the horrific attack in Chattanooga today. These Marines perished while serving our country and I know that our community in Northwest Georgia is forever grateful for their sacrifice.”
Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11) offered words of support:
“I am deeply saddened and enraged by the attacks on our U.S. servicemen in Chattanooga. My family and I are praying for the families of these brave Marines who lost their lives serving our nation. Initial intelligence reports indicate that ISIS may have been involved in this attack, and the Administration must act swiftly and decisively to protect our citizens and enact justice against those involved in carrying out this cowardly act of evil. An attack on any American is an attack on all of us, and we must remain vigilant in our fight to end this violence.”
Over the next weeks or months, we will learn more about the gunman, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, and we will learn if ISIS was behind this attack, but today and over the next few days, we will mourn and honor the four Marines who sacrificed themselves for their nation.
This man’s motivation may have been hatred towards us, but this will not hurt our resolve. We refuse to let the evil act of this man, regardless if he was a “lone wolf” or acting on behalf of ISIS, cause us to fear a faceless entity.
Thank you for the thoughts and prayers for our community and for the families of these fallen Marines. A deep, heartfelt appreciation and thank you goes to the Chattanooga Police Department and our United States Armed Services…..especially the United States Marine Corps.