It has been one year since the August 2021 suicide bombing at an airport in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed thirteen servicemembers. Three of those service members were from the Inland Empire. Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui was from Norco. Corporal Hunter Lopez was from Indio and Lance Corporal Dylan R. Merola was from Rancho Cucamonga.
All were honored in a ceremony in Norco, Nikoui’s hometown. A permanent memorial has been set up in the Norco Country Shopping Center along Sixth street. During the ceremony, a plaque was unveiled to honor the fallen. Nikoui’s mother Shana Chappell was in attendance. She is still hurting from the pain of losing Nikoui last year. To make matters worse, Nikoui’s older brother committed suicide earlier this month as the one year anniversary approached.
Members of Nikoui’s unit were also at the ceremony to help raise a flag in honor of the fallen service members.