RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. - Hundreds of people gathered in Murrieta for a remembrance ceremony to honor the 13 fallen service members killed in the airport attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The service members were from three military branches and included one Army Soldier, 11 Marines, and one Navy Corpsman.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 4 Marines from California among Kabul bombing victims
The ceremony took place at the Town Square Park Amphitheater starting at 6 p.m. It included an honor guard ceremony, invocation, bell-ringing tribute, and remarks by local elected officials.
Murrieta Mayor Scott Vinton spoke with FOX 11 about the significance of the ceremony.
"We want the families of those that lost their family members to understand that we're there to support them, to help them and do whatever we can to make sure they know they're not alone, that whatever we can do, we'd like to do. Being from a military family and just growing up knowing that there are people who put their lives on the line for us each and every day to protect our freedoms is just amazing," said Vinton.
The ceremony was emotional for a lot of community members in attendance including Murrieta resident, Ashley Hutchinson. Her husband served in Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013 before getting out of active duty service in 2014.
"We support events like this because freedom really isn't free and I hope after last week's events that the average American starts to understand this a little better," she said.
Hutchinson said she was upset when she heard about the deadly attack.
"I was angry. I was really upset. I think most Americans supported the drawdown and getting our troops out of Afghanistan but not like this. The greatest part about this country is that you can say anything you want and you can do that because of the bloodshed by the American soldiers so it's important to remember that. It's important to understand that freedom is never free and that it comes with the ultimate price tag, life," she said.
The Department of Defense shared the names of those killed, including 10 service members assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and three service members from Riverside and San Bernardino counties:
- Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee
- Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah
- Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts
- Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California
- Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California
- Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska
- Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California
- Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio