About a thousand people gathered Thursday in Coronado, California, to honor a U.S. Navy SEAL killed in an ISIS attack last week in Iraq.
The memorial at Tidelands Park, organized by the Naval Special Warfare, began with a bagpipe procession. Family of Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Charles Keating IV then offered emotional words about his loss.
“He was my idol,” Keating’s brother, also a Navy SEAL, told the crowd. “He was my best friend.”
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During the tribute, Keating was awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and a second combat ribbon.
Keating’s mother shared some of her son’s words as a way to honor him.
“The most important lesson is to have respect for all people,” she recalled.
The private memorial followed the arrival of Keating’s body at the Naval Air Station at Naval Base Coronado Wednesday.
A bugler played Taps at the end of the hour-long ceremony.
Keating IV died May 3 about 14 miles north of Mosul in an attack launched by 125 ISIS fighters, Pentagon officials said. He was part of a small force sent to fend off the attack.
After the emotional ceremony, U.S. Navy Chaplain Dennis Kelly said Keating should be remembered for how he lived his life, on duty and off.
"He lived life. He was passionate about life and he had a joy that was just throughout everything he did," Kelly said. "'Moderation is for cowards' was kind of his motive."
The family is asking, in lieu of flowers, any donations be made to the Navy SEAL Foundation.