L.A. Times: Massive Turnout at Memorial for Fallen Marine Kareem Nikoui in California Town

Kareem Nikoui (1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton / U.S. Marines via Associated Press)
1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton / U.S. Marines via Associated Press

Hundreds of people in the town of Norco, California turned out for a memorial service Saturday evening to Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, a U.S. Marine who was one of 13 servicemembers killed in in the Aug. 26 terror attack in Afghanistan.

The Los Angeles Times‘ Maria L. La Ganga witnessed the ceremony:

Just days after the young Marine was killed in the Aug. 26 suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, golf carts and horses and trucks snaked through town in an impromptu parade. The American Legion raised $25,000 for his family at a pancake breakfast.

And on Saturday night, hundreds showed up to pray and grieve and remember.

The little boy who wanted to be a Marine. The teenager who would always challenge the biggest person in the room at jujitsu. The 20-year-old who died thousands of miles away helping terrified Afghan families evacuate their war-torn country.

“Tonight we are honoring all 13 of these U.S. service members who were killed in that airport bombing in Kabul, but, to be honest, we are all here primarily because of Kareem,” said Phil Wozniak, pastor of Grace Fellowship Church, where Nikoui and his family worshiped.

The Times notes that many in the town are outraged at Nikoui’s death, which many feel did not have to happen, and which they blame on President Joe Biden and military leaders.

That feeling is shared by Nikoui’s family. Kareem’s father, Steve Nikoui, told the Daily Beast he blamed President Biden:

Through tears, Nikoui expressed flashes of anger along with his anguish. He said he wants to “respect the office” of the president, but doesn’t have much love for President Joe Biden at the moment. A Trump supporter, Nikoui was happy that Trump was in office when Kareem joined the Marines. “I really believed this guy didn’t want to send people into harm’s way,” he said.

“They sent my son over there as a paper pusher and then had the Taliban outside providing security,” said Nikoui. “I blame my own military leaders… Biden turned his back on him. That’s it.”

Shauna Chappell, Lance Cpl. Nikoui’s mother, blasted President Biden on social media after meeting with him during the “dignified transfer” ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, blaming him for her son’s death and noting that he had checked his watch throughout the event. Her Instagram account was temporarily suspended, but was later restored.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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