Fallen Five Honored in the Making of a Mural


After six months of work, the faces of 2 of the fallen five are complete in the mural in downtown Chattanooga. But artist Keven Bate says, what will never be done, is a community's tribute to the military men who lost their lives on July 16.

Up close, they just look like brightly colored blocks. But every day, drivers rushing by on McCallie Avenue, see the bigger picture taking shape. "I don't know that I can say what people will remember them for, I just want to make sure they ARE remembered," Bate says.

For months, Kevin Bate has spent his days, with paintbrush in hand, trying to capture a legacy. "The day after it happened as the names started coming in... Carson Holmquist, he had a son about my son's age and it absolutely destroyed me. It was just so sad to me that his son wasn't going to know anything else about his dad than what he already knew to that point."

Five different faces, each 20 feet wide, start with a sketch and gallons of donated paint. "I do the sketches small, 8.5 by 11 at my desk, and then get them in the computer. Then project them from across the street." Bate sketches on the primed concrete wall with a black marker, paying special attention to the focal point of each portrait. "It doesn't give me the exact picture but it give me enough to make sure I've got the eyes the right distance apart and they are a good level."

From the beginning, people have come to watch him work, stopping, standing Still, asking questions. And then one day... "David Wyatt's family came out and I got to meet his wife and his children," Bate says.

Connecting an artist with no real connection at all-- to the subjects he strives to create. "Twenty, 30, 40, 50 years from now, no matter how long this paint lasts, I want people rolling down here to remember these men and their names, and the sacrifices they made,"

For more on Kevin Bate, click here to visit his website.

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