A public memorial service for Marine Lance Cpl is being held today at Forest Lawn Covina Hills. Dylan R. Merola, who was among the 13 soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan.
Merola’s remains were carried in procession from Ontario International Airport and through the streets of his hometown of Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday – including a passport from his alma mater Los Osos High School – and eventually arrived at Forest Lawn to prepare for Sunday services .
Thousands of people lined the sidewalks and freeway flyovers along the processional route, many holding American flags.
“It’s a sad day,” Upland’s Mark Bertone told NBC4. âI have a son who has lived eight years of his life in and outside of Afghanistan. Part of me feels blessed that I still have him with me. “
Merola, 20, died on August 26 in the attack on Kabul airport, which also killed 10 other Marines, a US Navy medic and a US Army soldier, and more than 100 Afghans.
Two more Southland Marines – Lance Cpl. Kareem Grant Nikoui, 20, of Norco, and Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, also died in the attack.
“You have these young children – 19, 20, 21 years old, they come to work to help over a hundred thousand people escape the Taliban tyranny, and they are gone,” Bertone said.