Reverence was the operative word of the day for a ceremony dedicating the overpass at State Highway 210 and Haven in the name Lance Corporal Dylan Merola, who was one of 12 who were killed at Abbey Gate by a suicide bomber during the evacuation of Afghanistan on Aug. 26, 2021.
The event and the memorial highway signage were sponsored by State Assemblyman James Ramos and the Redlands and Victor Valley detachments of the Marine Corps League of California. Eleven members are from the mountain communities. The Rancho Cucamonga Community Center hosted the event with approximately 200 in attendance.
The keynote speaker was Marine Major Ben Sutphen, who was Lance Corporal Merola’s officer in Afghanistan.
“The absolute chaos and complexity of the evacuation will forever be difficult to understand,” Major Sutphen said, “but we promise to remember this sacred ground eternally. The decisions these young Marines had to make on the fly, not knowing friend from foe, is hard to grasp for many, yet the resiliency and dedication these men and women showed is beyond reproach.”
Major Sutphen then offered a quote from Civil War General Joshua Chamberlain: “In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass, bodies disappear, but spirits linger to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls.”