Written by David Carroll, WRCBtv | May 9, 2016
On July 16, 2015, the terrorist shooting attacks changed Chattanooga forever, shattering the lives of five families. They lost sons, husbands, dads and brothers. It hasn’t been easy for them to share their feelings, or put them into words until now, thanks to the gift of music.
A newly released song is called “Chattanooga Rain,” and although Lorri Wyatt never considered herself a songwriter, the words, and the emotions are straight from her heart.
Lorri’s husband, US Marine Corps Staff Sgt. David Wyatt was among the Fallen Five, and Lorri is first to admit she still struggles each day. The Wyatts were new to Chattanooga, but quickly adopted the city. After David’s death, she and her family were overwhelmed by the love shown by friends and strangers.
Lorri said, “Chattanooga Rain represents to me the city and the tears, because not just five families were affected, everyone was, we had an attack on our town.”
Bobbie Allison Standefer of Chattanooga had heard of Operation Song, and its mission of empowering veterans and their families to share their stories. With the help of Erlanger, she brought the program and the songwriters to Chattanooga.
Bobbie said, “The songwriters are Bob Regan, Don Goodman and Steve Dean. They’re amazing musicians, and they write the words and music so beautifully.”
Lorri was amazed by the songwriting process. Her words, her pain flowed directly into the hearts and minds of those who created the finished product. She collaborated with Nashville legend Goodman, whose hits include “Angels Among Us” by Alabama, and “Ol’ Red” by Blake Shelton.
Lorri said, “He was like, tell me what happened, I say I’m standing in a circle with family and friends, he says that’s the first line. It’s amazing what he can do.”
He said, “Her goal is to make sure David is never forgotten, to thank her family and friends, and to thank the city, he was theirs too.”
During the past four years, more than 300 songs have resulted from these sessions. Each, a personal story that lifts a burden, or honors a lost loved one. It’s a way of giving back, to those who have given all.