Seven Marines who were killed last month when their helicopters collided in mid-air near Yuma, Ariz. were remembered by family, friends and colleagues at Camp Pendleton on Friday.
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The memorial paid tribute to the men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan but died at home. Rifle shots crackled through the air as Marines delivered a 21-gun salute. During the memorial, "Taps" was played. Two Huey helicopters and two Cobra helicopters the types of aircraft that crashed last month flew in the "missing man" formation.
Another helicopter saw the Feb. 22 crash occur and immediately notified rescue crews on the ground, but the force of the collision was so severe that no one survived. All that was left the next day was scorched ground and debris.
With poster-size photos of the Marines in front of traditional battle crosses, Lt. Col. Stephen Lightfoot talked about the outpouring of grief and support that has come from all branches of the military and others outside the armed forces.
"Charitable organizations and numerous individuals across the country are both heartwarming and an indicator of good and decent people who care and simply want to give and do what they can," he said.
Posthumous awards were given to all family members of the Marines, which led to perhaps the most touching moment of all. 10News video showed the young son of one of the Marines being fascinated by a medal awarded to his dad.
It is unclear why the crash occurred. An investigation is still under way.
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