CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WKRN) – A memorial service was held Tuesday for the six children who died after the school bus they were on crashed and overturned in Chattanooga last November.
The mothers of the Woodmore 6, as they are now referred to, said it was a joyous celebration of their children’s life and not a sad occasion.
News 2 traveled to Chattanooga and talked to the mothers about whether or not they can forgive the man who was driving when their kids lost their lives.
PHOTOS: Chattanooga school bus crash
The mothers were brought together by tragedy, they share a common bond, and 12 months later, it hasn’t gotten any easier.
“He was just everything,” Diamound Brown said of her son D’Myunn Brown. “He was everything I could ever image.”
With the holidays approaching and knowing the children won’t be there is painful in itself.
“It’s hard; it’s hard,” mother said with tears flowing down her face. “Thanksgiving, birthdays, Christmas.”
Brown said she turned her life around after missing out on several years of her son’s life when she went to prison.
She had gotten out and was trying to make up for lost time with him when the fatal bus crash happened.
“Last year would have been my first holidays with him. It would have been my first Thanksgiving, my first Christmas, my first everything,” Brown said.
The four mothers News 2 talked with have mixed emotions about the school bus driver, Johnthony Walker.
“I forgive Johnthony Walker,” said mother Misti Nash. “So, I would just tell him that I forgive him, you know what I’m saying. I know it was an accident even though he was careless, wasn’t on the right bus route, speeding, talking on the phone, whatever he was doing. I’ve made peace and forgiven him. You have to make peace and move on.”
“Every parent is different, but I can only speak for me,” Jones said. “I do not forgive him. I’m not going to say [I’m not] going to never forgive him, but right now, I don’t because I blame him. First of all, he was on the wrong route. Second of all, you shouldn’t been speeding, them were small kids on that bus. My baby is supposed to be here in the fifth grade, supposed to graduate in May and what he did was very, very wrong and I blame him for everything – him and Durham.”
The mothers said they hoped Tuesday’s memorial will give them closure.
“We’re going to do a moment of silence for them,” Brown said on Smooth 93 FM in Chattanooga. “We’re going to release balloons in memory of them. We want to celebrate.”
Since that fatal crash, solar powered speed signs have been added on Tally Road.