"It makes us sad," Mt. Juliet City Commissioner Brian Abston said as he addressed a crowd gathered Tuesday evening to honor and mourn the loss of five military personnel recently slain in Chattanooga.
Along with a remembrance, those in attendance had the opportunity to sign a petition headed to Washington D.C. to support the 10th Amendment and states' rights.
"What happened in Chattanooga makes us so sad," Abston (who organized the rally along with Commissioner Ray Justice) said. "And angry. We need to get up and stand together. So tonight we honor and mourn those lost in Chattanooga."
He also explained the petition to sign acknowledged and demands the federal government put better into place the 10th amendment that says: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibit by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Some of Wilson County's leaders were there to speak, including Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty, Sen. Mae Beavers and State Rep. Susan Lynn.
"Bless and search our hearts and minds, and bless the families of service men who fight and serve this country," prayed Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick.
He sang a capella "America the Beautiful" before some officials spoke with fervor.
"Society seems upside down and backwards," Hagerty said. "We can't disarm our servicemen."
He was referring to the fact military people cannot carry firearms onto the base when they go to work. Beavers agreed.
"This is supposed to be the land of the free, and we can't protect ourselves?" Beavers said. "I'm confused. To name a few things about government control, it controls our education and how water runs off the roof. There are so many things it should not be involved in. It has taken a complete control of our lives. "If we don't stand up to Washington now we are going to lose it. But, it's not hopeless. Our land needs healing tonight," she said.
Lynn mentioned the lack of airtight rules on how law enforcement deals with suspects on the government "Watch List," among other things.
"We need your support, it's getting worse and worse. We need to reeducate them (federal government)," Lynn said. "We need to get a bill to get critical theory out of textbooks. We need to send a message to the liberals we want our country back. We want our military back."
Most of the crowd then took turns to sign the petition that will go to Washington with U.S. Rep. Diane Black.
Writer Laurie Everett can be reached at email@example.com.