Hands up, don't shoot. It will be a chant that will live and should live. It will be a chant that should teach us all to seek peace even when peace is an uphill fight.
The chant became well known since the Aug. 9 police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old in the middle of a Ferguson, Mo., street. Police Officer Darren Wilson, 28, killed the unarmed Michael Brown, firing at least six shots. Some eyewitnesses said Brown was shot as he held his hands in the air and moved away from the officer after a struggle at the police car. Police said Brown attacked Wilson as the officer sat in his patrol car. Then as Brown moved away, the officer said he charged at him. The fatal bullet struck Brown in the top of his head. The shooting triggered days of sometimes violent protests, looting and a police response criticized as militaristic.
On Monday, a St. Louis grand jury announced that it had not returned an indictment against the officer.
Now, what's next in Ferguson, Mo.?
Will there be a civil rights case filed? Will U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ramp up his federal investigation? Will more people die? Will the community burn? Or will healing eventually begin?
The answers affect much more than Ferguson. Because Ferguson is everywhere.
With tensions over race and police actions (with or without use of militarized gear on the streets) and distrust of authority, Ferguson is a microcosm of every community in America.
Every community has race-relations and/or class-based tensions, and many American communities have experiences with grand juries that almost never indict police officers - no matter how egregious the officers' actions.
Chattanooga is no different.
Remember Adam Tatum? Tatum, with cocaine in his system, kicked a door at Chattanooga's Salvation Army federal prisoner halfway house and brandished a knife in June 2013. Responding officers put Tatum on the floor and struck him more than 40 times with a baton, shocked him with a Taser, sprayed him with Mace and punched him in the face a number of times before - with multiple breaks to both legs including a compound fracture - Tatum was handcuffed. Even after he was handcuffed and sitting outside, an officer walked over to him, yelled at him and kicked him over.
The officers were not charged, but eventually they were fired after a surveillance video was released to the public. A Hamilton County grand jury declined to indict them. A judge ordered the officers reinstated, but the city refused, settling with them instead.
Clearly the problem isn't simply one just of police enforcement. If so, the tanks and gas bombs deployed against Ferguson protesters - peaceful and not-so-peaceful - would have stopped problems, not escalated them.
The problem actually is one of human respect, equal representation and equal justice.
In Ferguson, a town of 21,000 people who are 69 percent black, there was only one black council member, and the 55-member police force included only about five officers of color.
Now the aftermath comes with tensions heightened still more. Perhaps most horrifying was the recent news that someone posted on a St. Louis Cop talk blog and urged St. Louis residents to arm themselves.
Add to that reports that Ku Klux Klan leaders handed out fliers in Ferguson threatening "lethal force" against protesters. Businesses in Ferguson began boarding up their storefronts days ago, and local gun retailers said sales had skyrocketed.
Ferguson already has shown us the worst about racial and social distrust.
Let's hope and pray that now it can show the nation the best about healing.