CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Aug. 16 (Andrew V. Pestano) — Vice President Joe Biden attended a ceremony held Saturday in remembrance of the five U.S. servicemen killed in last month’s Chattanooga, Tenn., shootings.
“You’ve lost very much. You’ve given so very much, but please know that he will always be with you in the deepest recess in your heart, in your every thought,” Biden said to family members and loved ones of the victims in attendance at Chattanooga’s McKenzie Arena.
Marines Thomas Sullivan, Squire “Skip” Wells, David Wyatt, Carson Holmquist and Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith were killed in the attack.
“He’ll be the voice you hear in your ear telling you it’s OK. He’ll be that feeling in your chest that just calms you down. That look from the mirror that gives you confidence to move forward and that sunset that says, ‘I see you. I see you,'” Biden added.
Biden spoke to the family members as he mourns the death of his own son, Joseph “Beau” Biden III, who died of brain cancer at age 46 in late May.
“The day will come, as hard as it is to believe, when his memory brings a smile to your lips and a tear to your eyes. It takes time,” Biden said at the event, also attended by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
Mohammad Abdulazeez launched the attack July 16, first at a recruiting center in a strip mall, where no one was injured. Those inside hit the floor in the spray of gunfire and made their way out the back door.
In a 30-minute time span, Abdulazeez, a University of Tennessee graduate, drove his rented Mustang convertible from the recruiting center to a Navy operations support center, about seven miles away, and opened fire again. Authorities said Abdulazeez was killed by police, but not before killing the U.S. servicemen.
“I didn’t have the privilege of knowing any one of the personally, but, oh, I knew them,” Biden continued. “Confident, committed, determined, trustworthy, passionate and always, always loyal — I knew them. They were my son.”