U.S. Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez of Indio, one of 13 service members killed in last month’s bombing in Afghanistan, will be memorialized over the course of three days starting Thursday.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will hold a three-day long remembrance ceremony for Lopez, who died at the age of 22, starting with a procession Thursday, a public viewing Friday and a memorial service Saturday.
Lopez and 12 other service members died Aug. 26 in a suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, amid the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
Thursday’s procession will start at 5:30 p.m. at Forest Lawn, located at 69855 East Ramon Road, Cathedral City. The procession will pass the Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station, located on 73705 Gerald Ford Drive in Palm Desert, and end at St. Francis of Assisi, located at 47225 Washington Street, in La Quinta.
Friday’s public viewing will begin with a procession at 9 a.m. from St. Francis of Assisi and will travel past the three schools Lopez attended in the valley: Amelia Earhart Elementary School, located at 45250 Dune Palms Road, in Indio; John Glenn Middle School, located at 79655 Miles Avenue, in Indio; and La Quinta High School, located at 79255 Blackhawk Way, in La Quinta. The procession will then loop back to St. Francis of Assisi, where there will be a public viewing from noon to 7 p.m.
The memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Palm Springs Convention Center, located at 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, in Palm Springs. Sheriff’s officials said the Oasis Room in the convention center will be open to the public to watch the ceremony via media screens in order to comply with COVID regulations.
The service will be live streamed via the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
A total of 1,000 members of the public will be permitted to attend, and masks will be required.
At the service’s conclusion, a procession will be from the convention center to Riverside National Cemetery, located at 22495 Van Buren Blvd., in Riverside, where Lopez will be laid to rest.
Lopez was the son of Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Alicia Lopez and sheriff’s Capt. Herman Lopez. According to the Riverside Sheriff’s Association, Hunter Lopez was a Riverside County sheriff’s Explorer Scout with the Palm Desert Station from September 2014 to August 2017, and planned to become a sheriff’s deputy upon his return from Afghanistan.
“Hunter was devoted to serving others and perfecting himself in order to be the best Explorer and Marine possible. Whether at work or at home, Hunter strived for perfection, seeking knowledge and experience from those he respected and admired,” the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release on Friday. “When on leave, Hunter enjoyed being around family and friends and sharing his experiences with everyone.
“He lived life to the fullest and was often the reason why family and friends would bend over backwards to get together when he was around.”
Sheriff’s officials advised members of the public who wish to attend the processions to stay on the sidewalks and out of roadways for safety.