By CBSLA Staff

NORCO (CBSLA) – Thousands of mourners and supporters lined the streets outside a southland airport for the arrival of one of the fallen 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing near Kabul airport on 26 August.

Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20 of Norco, killed in the August 26 suicide bombing outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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The remains of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, of Norco, were being transported to a mortuary in Riverside.

The 14 miles procession route, from the arrival at the Ontario Airport to his final destination at a Riverside funeral home, was lined with people waving flags from the side of the road and high above on the hilltops.

“It definitely touched my heart,” said Janie Walker, who attended the procession.

Walker said that Nikoui’s story hits close to home for her.

“For me personally, the patriotism. My husband was in the Army during Vietnam and to see what’s going on in the world right now, I just felt like we owed this young man and his family a big show of support,” Walker said.

The close-knit community of Norco prides itself on supporting the troops.

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“You know, this really hit home because it’s one of our own,” said Brent Sakamoto, who came out to show his support.

“You see nothing, but flags,” Jim Liberio said. “This is a very patriotic community.”

“We need to let that family know that their child will not be forgotten,” said Peggy Chism.

Law enforcement officers stood in salute as Marines carried Nikoui’s flag-draped coffin on a somber walk inside the mortuary, the young Marine’s grieving family trailing close behind.

Videos of Nikoui interacting with the children of Afghanistan during a mission in which American service members defended those who couldn’t protect themselves have resonated with people, offering a glimpse into the life of the 20-year-old.

Walker said she wished more people would get a chance to see the videos.

“What our soldiers and Marines do in other countries right now, I wish the general public could really see what they do. They pour their hearts into their jobs. They did make a difference in that country for sure, especially for the women,” Walker said.

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Another 2,000-3,000 people are expected to attend Nikoui’s memorial service, which Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Harvest Christian Fellowship’s Riverside campus. The memorial is open to the public.