Chattanooga community mourns bus crash victims on Thanksgiving

Nov. 24, 2016: On this Thanksgiving Day, the Chattanooga community is mourning the children who died in a school bus crash earlier this week.

CHATTANOOGA - Thanksgiving is a holiday meant for enjoying time with family, but the community in Chattanooga is still in mourning after a school bus crash on Monday killed six children and left more in the hospital. 

“It makes you grateful and thankful for every minute that you have because nobody would ever think a school bus would do this much damage,” said Melinda Kile. 

She and her son Chandler lived in Chattanooga before moving to Tullahoma. They returned on Thanksgiving day to pay respect to the families who lost children in the crash. 

"All of us are going to sit down and celebrate with families and these poor families are planning their funerals for their babies and some of them were only children,” she said. 

RELATED: Sixth child dies following Chattanooga school bus crash

Chandler brought wrestler figurines and green balloons to show his support. When he first heard the news of the crash, he wanted to do more. 

“The last clip we saw was a news feed from Blood Assurance here in Chattanooga and they had a line of everyone donating blood and he asked if he could come donate,” said Melinda. 

Chandler is just 11 years old, too young to donate blood. However, his mother says his willingness to give shows how tight-knit the Chattanooga community is. 

“I’m originally from the North so when I moved here 12 years ago it was kind of a culture shock, but I will say whenever there’s been a tragedy in Chattanooga the community rallies together like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” she said. 

RELATED: Road where school bus crashed was not on designated route

“It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white or Hispanic. This has affected everybody and everyone is pulling together to help one another," she said.

She says this year she and her family will be extra thankful for the time they have together. 

“We all need to hug our babies and others we love a little tighter because we’re not promised tomorrow," she said. 

(© 2016 WBIR)


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