Disneyland honored Lance Cpl. Dylan Ryan Merola, a fallen Marine from Rancho Cucamonga who died in Afghanistan in 2021, at their daily flag retreat ceremony on Monday in the Town Square.
According to KTLA 5, Merola was killed in action during a bombing at the Kabul airport in 2021 and he was one of the hundreds of American service members who had helped aid evacuations for Americans and other foreign citizens in the country. Merola was one of 12 service members who were killed by the suicide bomber in the airport and in total 183 people were killed from that attack.
One of the oldest traditions that Disney does is hold a ceremony at the center of Town Square near the Disneyland entrance each day to honor service members past and present as the American flag is lowered from the pole and retired. On Monday, the Merola family was able to hear a special dedicated message and Merola's mother received the flag from Marine Master Sergeant Patrick Hause as well as a Navy Achievement Medal.
“It meant so much to me today to honor my son. As he was growing up we attended a lot of things at Disneyland. We had season passes since he was little,” Rex said. “It’s very meaningful here, it’s a special place to us.”
The Merola family was also able to tour the apartment above the Disneyland firehouse, where Walt Disney would occasionally stay. For more information, click here.