The second of three days of memorial events to honor Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez is underway.
Cpl. Lopez was killed in Afghanistan and is being laid to rest this week.
A somber procession on Friday morning is bringing his remains past his childhood schools: Amelia Earhart Elementary School, John Glenn Middle School, and La Quinta High School.
It will return to St. Francis of Assisi for viewing from noon - 7 p.m. before Saturday's memorial and burial.
Amelia Earhart Elementary School
At Amelia Earhart Elementary, school pictures of Cpl. Lopez taken during his younger years lined the sidewalks, flanked by American flags that represent the school community.
John Glenn Middle School
La Quinta High School
News Channel 3 has crews along the route of the procession. We will be bringing youlive reports on News Channel 3 at Noon and beyond.
Engine 39 standing by for the start of the procession for USMC Corporal Hunter Lopez in La Quinta. pic.twitter.com/gLFw4qB7x6— CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department (@CALFIRERRU) September 17, 2021
Thursday afternoon, the body of the fallen Marine was greeted by his family, military, law enforcement, and dignitaries.
You can watch that here:
In the evening, hundreds lined the streets of Cathedral City, Palm Desert, and La Quinta to honor Cpl. Lopez as the procession made its way to the church on Washington Street.
Starting 9 a.m. Friday, another procession is taking Lopez past the three Desert Sands Unified schools he attended before becoming a Marine: Amelia Earhart Elementary School, John Glenn Middle School, and La Quinta High School.
"The character of that young man just shines. I'm proud to know that he was a Red Hawk and I'm proud to be a Marine along with him."Todd Biggert, principal at John Glenn Middle School
John Glenn Middle School Principal Todd Biggert said his students are gearing up to pay their respects Friday as the procession passes by. "We've got 1,100 students that are going to be lining that entryway as they come in," he said. "They've got flags; the teachers are gonna be wearing (matching memorial shirts)."
La Quinta High School Principal Dr. Rudy Wilson said his students have been hit hard by the loss. Lopez's sister, Trinity, is a senior there now.
"It's been tough," Wilson said. "We have no shortage of students who would like to show their respect and appreciation for Hunter and his family."
At a La Quinta High School volleyball game Tuesday, the team honored the Lopez family. Parents Herman and Alicia were present – Trinity Lopez is a player on the team.
Mayor of La Quinta Linda Eans said the procession was planned by Lopez's family and will be important to their healing, and the community.
"To be able to provide perhaps some closure for those students who knew him or know his brother and sister, that will be very special, for not only all of the teachers to be able to participate, but the students that are there on campus," Evans said.
After the procession past the schools Friday, Lopez will return to St. Francis in La Quinta where the public can attend a viewing.
A memorial service will be held Saturday at the Palm Springs Convention Center at 11 a.m. It's open to the public and large screens will be available to watch the ceremony.
Then, a procession will take Lopez to the Riverside National Cemetery where he will be laid to rest.
"Last week, we received the news that no parent wants to receive; our dear son, United States Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, was killed along with 12 others during the U.S.led evacuation effort at the Kabul airport.
Our family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and condolences we've received in the wake of Hunter's sudden passing. We want to send out a huge thank you to everyone who has donated to the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Relief Foundation in the name of Hunter and the family, prayed, or reached out to us during one of the most challenging times in our lives. Please know that Hunter wore the United States Marine uniform with love and pride, and it is very apparent that the community will never forget his sacrifice and our family.
We are grateful to those who have paid tribute to Hunter by sending us bouquets of flowers, posting so many heartfelt messages on social media, or otherwise sharing in our sadness as well as the celebration of his short but incredible life. We wish we could thank all of you individually, but that would be nearly impossible, as there has been an overwhelming amount of people helping us. Whether checking on us, praying, making donations in Hunter's honor, we will forever be thankful for all of you.
So many people told us that they couldn't find the right words to express their sympathy. We, likewise, realized that there were no words to express our deep level of appreciation adequately. We have only two words for everyone: Thank You. "- Lopez family
Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage.