Three Marines from Riverside County and 10 others killed in a suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul will be remembered with a pair of special tributes this week.
At 10 a.m. Sunday, Lance Cpl. Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui will be remembered during a “Memorial Hike to Pumpkin Rock” planned by the Norco High School Junior ROTC, the Corona-Norco Unified School District and the city of Norco.
Participants will meet at Pikes Peak Park, 97 Sixth St. Parking will be available at the George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center, 3737 Crestview Drive.
Nikoui, 20, graduated from Norco High School in 2019 and served in JROTC.
Norco Mayor Kevin Bash said he was killed while helping to save children and families of Afghans who had aided the U.S. government during its 20-year involvement in Aghanistan.
On Tuesday, the city of Murrieta will honor all 13 service members who lost their lives in the bombing, including three from the Riverside area.
The “Remembrance Ceremony Honoring Fallen Service Members” is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, at the Town Square Park Amphitheater, 24670 Adams Ave., and will be a “tribute to those who lost their lives and the families impacted by this tragedy” city officials said on Twitter.
In addition to Nikoui, Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga and Cpl. Hunter Lopez, the son of Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Alicia Lopez and sheriff’s Capt. Herman Lopez, were also killed in the Thursday blast, according to the Department of Defense.
All three were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Sunday to meet with some of the families and then attend the transfer of the service members’ bodies back to American soil.
“The 13 service members that we lost were heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our highest American ideals and while saving the lives of others,” Biden said in a written statement released on Saturday. “Their bravery and selflessness has enabled more than 117,000 people at risk to reach safety thus far.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of all the fallen soldiers.