ROSEVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — The solemn sound of bagpipes marked the beginning of the memorial service remembering the life and legacy of the late U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole Gee.
Remembered for her bravery, Gee made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan last month, where she was one of 13 service members, alongside 169 Afghans, killed in a suicide bombing at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.
“She was kind, compassionate, caring, strong, fearless, a mentor, a warrior; a Marine’s marine, and a true American hero,” said Cheryl Juels, Gee’s aunt.
The ceremony, attended by hundreds of people Saturday morning, featured Gee’s family, as well as her best friend Mallory Harrison.
“She lost her life so others may life, and without a doubt, she died proud,” Harrison said. “Proud of who she was, proud of what she was going, and proud to be a United States Marine.”
Watch the full memorial service here:
One week before the 23-year-old Gee lost her life, she posted a now-viral picture to a social media account, showing her cradling an Afghan infant. Her caption: “I love my job.”
Those who spoke to FOX40 said the picture embodied how Gee lived her life.
“To the core of her existence, she loved,” Harrison said. “Anyone and everyone — she loved.”
Gee’s sister, Misty Fuoco, said love was always behind her actions.
“Her selflessness and willingness to help others drove everything that she did,” Fuoco said.
Among those waiting to salute Gee was Tara Latham and her children, Lionul and Georgia.
“I wanted my kids to see it,” Latham said. “They don’t really understand what’s going on, but it’s important to show them this is what we do.”
Following the service, the casket carrying Gee was placed into a hearse and escorted to its final resting place.
Those who spoke at the service want to make sure this wife, daughter, and friend is never forgotten.
“Valhalla, Sgt. Nicole Gee,” Harrison said. “You’ll always be my best friend and my person. Semper Fidelis. I love you forever.”