Disneyland honors Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, SoCal Marine killed in 2021 Kabul attack

The family of Merola was acknowledged during the Disneyland Resort Flag Retreat Ceremony in Town Square.

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Saturday, August 13, 2022
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A special ceremony was held Monday at Disneyland Resort for Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, a Southern California native who was among 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan last year.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- A special ceremony was held Monday at Disneyland Resort for Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, a Southern California native who was among 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan last year.

The family of Merola was acknowledged during the Disneyland Resort Flag Retreat Ceremony in Town Square.

Merola's mother, Cheryl Rex, his grandparents and sister were in attendance. Rex was also presented with the Navy Achievement Medal.

"It meant so much to me today to honor my son," said Rex. "As he was growing up, we attended a lot of things at Disneyland. We had season passes since he was little. It's very meaningful. It's a special place to us."

Merola's brother Branden, who joined the Marines in January and graduated from Marine Corps Boot Camp on Friday, was also in attendance for the emotional ceremony.

Merola was from Rancho Cucamonga and attended Los Osos High School.

Merola, who was only 20 years old at the time of his death, was killed along with 10 other Marines, a U.S. Navy corpsman and a U.S. Army soldier, along with more than 100 Afghanis.

Two other Southland Marines -- Lance Cpl. Kareem Grant Nikoui, 20, of Norco, and Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio -- also died in the attack.

Marines Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, Cpl. Hunter Lopez honored with memorials in Riverside County

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