CHATTANOOGA, TENN. - For more than a year, flags have flown over Ross’s Landing to honor the Fallen Five. It's one of many memorials that the community can visit to remember that fateful day.
But now the memorial on Ross’s Landing is starting to fade and fall apart.
The flags on Ross’s Landing were originally just for “Chattanooga Unite,” an event that brought the city together after the July 16th attacks. Mickey McCammish with Friends of the Festival said organizers decided leave them up as a permanent memorial for the community to enjoy year round.
"It reminds us of that day, it reminds us freedom really isn't free and it was shown that day by the five that were sacrificed,” McCammish said.
Recently, some of the flags have been torn. You can no longer read the name of the servicemen on their nameplates. One sign is even missing.
"It is windy down on the pier front, the water front there and so the flags do get torn and also the elements on the placards with the sun, we're going to have these elements engraved versus laminated,” McCammish said.
McCammish said since Chattanooga Unite, they've maintained the memorial on the Riverfront, replacing the flags multiple times a year. This month the faded placards will also be changed out, replaced with metal plates.
"More resistant to the sunlight, and then they will last longer so then we will not have to replace them on an annual basis,” McCammish said.
Right now, McCammish is waiting to install the new flags until the plaques are made.
He said the same messages, approved by the families, will be engraved onto the signs.
They are upgrades he's happy to make because he knows how much it means to the community.
"You often hear that phrase 'freedom isn't free,' but we experienced it right here in our own backyard and we never want to forget the fallen five, who gave their lives on that day,” McCammish said.
May is National Military Appreciation Month, and organizers hopes to have new flags and plaques installed before then.
Friends of the Festival expects to replace the flags at least one more time between now and the 2nd anniversary of the July 16th attacks.