U.S. sailors and Marines keep time with ship's bells when they're at sea.
That's one reason why Aleq Boyle, who was a sailor on the USS Midway aircraft carrier in the early 1980s, thought Chattanooga churches should ring their bells today. Today marks the one-week anniversary of Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez's shooting rampage that claimed the lives of one Navy sailor and four Marines, the branch of the service with the closest ties to the U.S. Navy.
"I just thought that was an appropriate way to remind the community of [the victims'] sacrifice," said Boyle, a Chattanoogan who got several downtown churches to agree to ring their bells five times for the five fallen servicemen at five minutes after 4 p.m. today.
Boyle chose 4 p.m. because he said there are four branches in the U.S. military: Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
"The Coast Guard is under Homeland Security," Boyle said. "In the time of war, it comes under command of the Navy."
Downtown churches that will participate include First-Centenary United Methodist Church, Saints Peter and Paul Basilica, which is a Roman Catholic church, and Patten Chapel at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
"They're the only [bells] that we have on our campus," UTC spokesman Chuck Cantrell said. "We're proud to be part of the Chattanooga community. So we want to stand with the rest of Chattanooga in this effort."
Boyle hopes other area churches will hear of the bell-ringing and participate today.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/tim.omarzu or twitter.com/TimOmarzu or 423-757-6651.