US vice pres­i­dent hon­ors Marines, sailors killed in Chat­tanooga at­tack

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

U.S. lead­ers paid trib­ute Satur­day to the four Marines and the sailor killed last month in a lone gun­man’s at­tack on mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties here, vow­ing jus­tice against vi­o­lent ex­trem­ists.

Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, U.S. De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash­ton Carter and other dig­ni­taries joined fam­i­lies of the vic­tims for a solemn me­mo­rial ser­vice a month af­ter the July 16 at­tack in this river city flanked by the Ap­palachian moun­tains.

A sor­row­ful Bi­den eu­lo­gized the five in strik­ingly per­sonal terms, al­lud­ing to the re­cent loss of his own son, Beau Bi­den.

“I wish I were not here. I have some sense of how hard it is for you to be here,” he told the fam­i­lies.

Liken­ing their sons and hus­bands to bib­li­cal war­riors, he said: “The men we honor to­day gave the same an­swer to Isa­iah: Send me.”

Amer­ica, he said, “Never kneels, never bends, never cow­ers, never stands down. (Amer­ica) en­dures, re­sponds, and we al­ways over­come.”

FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tors say Mo­ham­mad Yous­suf Ab­du­lazeez acted alone, but author­i­ties are un­sure whether he was inspired by rad­i­cal ide­ol­ogy or driven by men­tal ill­ness as his fam­ily has sug­gested.

“The mean­ing of their killing is yet un­clear, what com­bi­na­tion of dis­turbed mind, vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism and hate­ful ide­ol­ogy was at work, we don’t know,” said Carter.

But he added: “The few who threaten or in­cite harm to Amer­i­cans — vi­o­lent ex­trem­ists or ter­ror­ists wher­ever they are — very surely, no mat­ter how long it takes, will come to feel the long arm and hard fist of jus­tice.”

The Kuwaiti-born 24-year-old for­mer en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent was shot dead by po­lice to end the rampage at two sep­a­rate mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties.

Be­fore the me­mo­rial ser­vice in a bas­ket­ball arena here, Bi­den and Carter met pri­vately with the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims — Gun­nery Sgt. Thomas Sul­li­van, 40, Staff Sgt. David Wy­att, 35, Sgt. Car­son Holmquist, 25, Navy lo­gis­tics Spc. Ran­dall Smith, 26, and Lance Cpl. Squire Wells, 21.

Sev­eral of them had served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sev­eral left be­hind young wives and small chil­dren.

AP

U.S. Navy of­fi­cers pay their re­spects at the bat­tle­field crosses for the fallen ser­vice­men at a me­mo­rial for the five mil­i­tary ser­vice­men killed in the July, 16 at­tacks on two mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties, at McKen­zie Arena in Chat­tanooga, Ten­nessee, Satur­day, Aug. 15.

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