A US Marine who died from the Kabul airport in the suicide bombings during the tumultous US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan was honored in a memorial held back home on Saturday.
Lance Corporal Kareem Grant Nikoui was one of the 13 American service members killed by the Kabul blast. His coffin was laid out in Riverside, Ca. for family and those who wished to honor his service.
The memorial service at the Harvest Christian Fellowship for the 20-year-old marine was attended by hundreds. He was killed during the evacuation efforts for Americans and Afghans from Kabul on Aug. 26, in the middle of the sudden Taliban takeover of the war-torn country.
10 other U.S Marines, a U.S. Navy corpsman, a U.S Army soldier, and over 100 Afghans died during the suicide attack. Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez, a 22-year-old U.S Marine killed in the same blast was also from Riverside. A three-day memorial service was also done to honor Lopez in Coachella Valley where he grew up.
Grief-stricken friends and family as well as fellow service members patiently waited in line for the opportunity to place their hands on Nikoui’s flag-draped coffin and honor his life.
Shyler Chappell, Nikoui’s sister, shared during Saturday’s service that she learned her brother tried to save three families during his final moments when he went back to the Kabul airport, as reported by KTLA.
“It didn’t surprise me that those were his last moments, as he had sent our family group chat videos of him talking to the children there,” she said.
The fallen Marine’s father, Steve Nikoui also spoke during the service, choking up while sharing stories about his son.
“For me, my relationship with him was really good,” Nikoui’s father said. “I let him get away with so much, to the extent that others would be jealous and be upset.”
According to local reports, thousands of people lined the streets of Norco on Friday during the “Fallen Hero Procession” for Nikoui, and his coffin was taken from Ontario International Airport to Crestlawn Mortuary in Riverside.