RUSSELLVILLE (KFSM) –The funeral of Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, one of the victims of the Chattanooga shootings, was held Friday (July 24).
People lined the streets as Wyatt’s body was transported through Nashville Thursday (July 23). Members of the group Patriot Guard Riders stood silent, braving the rain, each of them holding an American flag during the procession.
"There is no reason for his life to have been taken,” Dewayne Dove of Russellville said.
While it's been an emotional time in Tennessee, Russellville is flying its flags at half-staff in memory of Wyatt.
"It has drawn our community back to thinking about what it was like when David was here,” Dove said. "It has drawn us back, in a lot of ways, tighter to supporting of our troops even more so than what we normally already do."
Dove was Wyatt’s band director for four years and said Wyatt had already been playing the tuba for two years before going to Russellville High School.
"This is one of his hangout places,” Dove said in the old band room, now used for storage at the high school.
“He would come here before school -- it was in this actual room. He would come in before school and come visit with his friends and he was in here at lunch, which was right after band rehearsal."
In January 1997, the school band performed in the inaugural parade for President Bill Clinton.
“The fact that he stayed in band after that -- it means a lot. It was not just for a trip that he was in band. He was in band because he enjoyed being here,” Dove said.
Dove recalled the last time he saw Wyatt, at a high school reunion.
"He came back and he was in uniform. We got the chance to see him in his uniform,” he said. “He was extremely proud of being a Marine and of course we were very proud for him."
Wyatt was also on the football team, but Dove said the fact that he was a tuba player will always hold a special meaning.
"The head director used to have a saying that we've always continued and that's: ‘Tuba players are worth their weight in gold.’ And he was one of those,” Dove said.
The 35-year-old was buried with full honors at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
A candlelight vigil for Wyatt has been scheduled for August 7 at the Russellville High School Cyclone Stadium.