LOS ANGELES - Community members gathered Thursday for the procession of fallen Marine Corporal, Hunter Lopez. Dozens of law enforcement officers were also there to show support.
Lopez was among 13 service members killed in the terrorist attack in Afghanistan.
Two other Marines from Riverside County – Corporal Dylan Merola and Corporal Kareem Nikoui – were also killed in the attack.
The procession for Lopez started at Forest Lawn in Cathedral City, passing by the Palm Desert Sheriff's Station, and ended at St. Francis of Assisi in La Quinta.
"I served and in our squadron, we lost people and it's something that tears at your heart, tears at your gut and the loss is the same whether it's our squadron or Corporal Lopez," said Grant Nugent, a Navy veteran who attended the procession.
Parents like Brittany Markarian brought their children to highlight the importance of honoring service members.
"As a parent, I can only imagine that loss and we're grateful for their service and bless that family and pray for them. I want to teach them [her children] that we need to be grateful and that freedom isn't free and that we appreciate that sacrifice," said Markarian.
At 9 a.m. Friday, another procession will be held for Lopez that will pass by three schools Lopez attended. Once the procession is finished, Corporal Lopez will return to St. Francis where the public will be able to attend a viewing from noon to 7 p.m.
A memorial service will be held at Palm Springs Convention Center on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Oasis room in the convention center will be open to the public to watch the ceremony on media screens in accordance with COVID-19 regulations and occupancy requirements.
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