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MURRIETA: Hundreds line streets to honor Marine killed in Nepal chopper crash

MURRIETA: Hundreds line streets to honor Marine killed in Nepal chopper crash


Hundreds of people line Kalmia Street in Murrieta on Wednesday to pay their respects during the procession returning the body of Marine Sgt. Eric Seaman, who was killed in a rescue mission in Nepal.


Hundreds and hundreds of mourners lined the streets of Murrieta on Wednesday, June 10, to pay their respects to a fallen local hero.

Marine Sgt. Eric Seaman, a Murrieta resident who died while serving a humanitarian mission in Nepal last month, came home for the final time, borne by a gleaming while hearse, which ferried his body on a 70-mile trip that started at Lindbergh Field in San Diego.

Two police vehicles and some 20 motorcycles, members of the American Legion Riders, preceded the hearse. Dozens of motorcycles, also part of the procession, followed.

The hearse pulled into the parking lot of the Murrieta Valley Funeral Home a little after 9 p.m. About 10 minutes later, a group of six Marines in dress uniform pulled the flag-draped casket from the hearse, and carried it into the mortuary.

Hope McCormick, 16, was there with her 13-year-old sister, Maggie. The two girls are Seaman’s nieces.

Hope held a sign that read: “I (love) U Cuckoo.”

“We couldn’t say uncle when we were young,” said Hope. “So we just said, cuckoo.”

When the hearse passed by Maggie, she began to sob. It was followed by a limousine carrying Eric’s wife, Samantha, who got out and immediately hugged Maggie.

Navy Lt. Eric Lavria, a resident of Wildomar, stood with the throngs who packed Kalmia Street for over an hour awaiting the passing of the procession.

“He took the oath of service to his country, (and) paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Lavria. “And I just came out tonight to pay my respects and just honor that service.”

Mike Johnson, 27, of Wildomar, a Marine Corps veteran, was also among the mourners.

“It’s a sad reason we’re here,” said Johnson. “But at the same time it’s great to see so much support.

“Think about if this was Vietnam — they wouldn’t be here for the same reasons. It’s amazing and it’s awesome to see the support we have these days.”

Last month, Seaman’s helicopter went down during a mission serving earthquake victims in Nepal, which was rocked by a 7.8-magnitude quake followed by a 7.3-magnitude aftershock less than three weeks later.

The six Marine, two Nepalese soldiers and five Nepalese civilians on board the UH-1 “Huey” helicopter all died.

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