- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

FORT OGLETHORPE, Ga. (AP) - Mourners gathered Tuesday afternoon in Georgia and Tennessee to line the procession route for a Navy officer who was fatally shot in attacks on military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The private funeral for Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith was held at the First Baptist Church of Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, just south of the Tennessee border. Smith was one of five military personnel fatally shot July 16 before the shooter was killed by police.

Smith grew up in Paulding, Ohio, and joined the military after attending college in Ohio, his grandmother Linda Wallace said before his death. Smith was married and had three young daughters.

Gov. Nathan Deal last week ordered flags to fly at half-staff through sunset Friday for Smith and Marine Lance Cpl. Skip Wells, another Georgian killed in the attack who was laid to rest over the weekend.

Navy personnel in white uniforms served as pallbearers, carrying Smith’s casket from the church to a hearse after the service.

Crowds gathered in the afternoon heat after the funeral as Smith was driven along I-75 and a state highway to be buried at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. Some who lined the streets said their sense of patriotism compelled them to stand along the route.

“You have to show your respect. You have to,” WSB-TV quoted local resident Holly Burnham as saying (https://bit.ly/1DNeKUs). “It’s American. It’s the thing to do.”

For others, reasons for lining the route were more personal, despite never having met Smith.

“The way the Navy works, if you’re a member of the Navy, it’s your brother,” retired Navy officer Ralph Grishan told the television station. “So, he’s our brother.”


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