‘I had to pay respect:’ Memorial at Camp Pendleton grows with remains of service members back in US

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SAN DIEGO — As the remains of 13 U.S. service members were brought back to the U.S. Sunday, a memorial continued to grow at Camp Pendleton where 10 of the victims were based.

People from all over Southern California drove to Oceanside to pay their respects.

“I just felt like I had to pay respect to these young men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in service for our country and to protect us,” said Laurel Freeman, of Oceanside.  

Flowers, candles, flags, beer, and pictures of the fallen service members now fill the entrance sign.  

Lake Elsinore resident Emiliano Guerrero came to pay his respects to the service members. The 19-year-old said their deaths hit home for him, because the majority of them were in their 20s.

“These people where fathers, sons, daughters, and countless of lives have been affected by this tragedy,” Guerrero said.

Beatriz Serafin, drove from Los Angeles County, and says the country should continue to honor the fallen and those currently serving.  

“We cannot let whatever it is that is dividing us, get in the way of honoring them and respecting them for what they are doing for us as a country,” she said.

Congressmen Darrell Issa released a statement, saying that “today was among the most difficult of this Afghanistan experience.”

“The around the clock work to bring our community home – while our fallen soldiers also return to American soil,” he said in the statement. “It should have never come to this – we owe it to both memory and duty to continue our efforts to help as many as we can return to their families and loved ones.” 

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