U.S. Marine reflects on shootings at the Chattanooga Recruitment Center where he first joined

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - In the wake of our nations tragic shooting where four U.S. Marines lives were taken, many in the area Chattanooga area feel called to visit the Military Recruitment Center.

This is one of the military sites targeted in the shootings.  For each person, the site represents something different, stirring an array of emotions; anger, pride frustration, hope. People come to drop off flags, say a prayer and just discover what this tragedy means to them.

Thursday evening, just hours after the shootings took place, a man sat in the parking lot. He looked at the building in the shopping mall clearly distraught, as many were at the site.

But Curtis Wilson has a history with the center. He watched the building that was swarmed with investigators and destroyed by bullet holes.

“It was 1999 when my dad picked me up from the airport,” shared Wilson.  “I was here at 1:15 joining the Marine Corps. I was trying to follow in him and my mom’s footsteps.”

He expressed it was the greatest moment in his life when he arrived to the building, fulfilling a lifelong goal. He went on to become Cpl. Curtis Wilson with the Marine Corps, serving from 1999-2001.

That Thursday he returned to the place his journey began, a day the lives of four of our nation’s heroes were taken in a senseless act. He reflected on what the tragedy meant to him.

“I`m praying and reflecting, on my time in the service,” Wilson said.  “And how the men and women give themselves to our country, for this, it's really saddening.'

Looking ahead, Wilson has a hope for our nation.

“I hope it brings us together. Especially with all this stuff about racism and people burning the American flag. It’s very sad. I hope this brings our country together. We are here because of the men and women that died for us.”

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.