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Rancho Cucamonga Marine Dylan Merola honored at funeral

The last of the three Marines from the Inland Empire who were killed in the terrorist attack in Afghanistan was to be laid to rest Sunday afternoon, Sept. 26.

Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, was killed in the Kabul airport bombing on Aug. 26, 2021. (Courtesy photo)

Lance Cpl. Dylan Ryan Merola, who was born in Upland and grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, was to be buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Covina, shortly after a funeral service honoring the fallen Marine attended by more than 1,000 family, friends and members of the public.

Merola, 20, was one of the 13 U.S. service members killed in the attack on Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 26. Two other Marines from the Inland Empire, Lance Cpl. Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui, of Norco, and Cpl. Hunter Lopez, of Indio, were also killed in the suicide bombing. Eight more Marines, an Army soldier and a Navy Corpsman were also killed in the attack, along with 169 Afghan civilians. At least 150 more people were injured in the bombing.

Merola’s flag-draped casket was outside before the service began about 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Country singer Coffey Anderson sang “Mr Red White and Blue” as he did at many of the other funerals for service members who perished in the attack.

Coffey Anderson sings “Mr Red White and Blue” on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, at the funeral of Rancho Cucamonga resident Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola. He was killed last month in Afghanistan. (Photo by Steve Scauzillo, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

On Tuesday, thousands lined the streets during a procession to honor Merola.

At a Sept. 2 Central Park memorial vigil, Merola’s mother, Cheryl Rex, said her son always wore military attire as a child.

“He wanted nothing more than to become a Marine,” Rex recalled that night.

Merola, a graduate of Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga, had been stationed in Kabul for less than two weeks and was planning to go to college and study engineering, according to Rex.

This story will be updated. Check back for updates.

Source: Orange County Register

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