JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT)- Jacksonville’s Freedom Fountain stands in mourning status with just the center jet flowing.
It serves as a remembrance to the 13 service members who were killed in the Afghanistan airport bombing on Thursday, including Camp Lejeune’s own, Sgt. Nicole L Gee. She passed away after sustaining serious injuries in the attack.
“She says ‘an unbelievable experience,’ as what she was going through there, and it was in a good way, not a bad way, so, she was happy,” Richard Herrera, Gee’s father, said in an interview with Nexstar sister station FOX40 in Sacramento, Calif.
Gee was stationed at Camp Lejeune as a maintenance technician with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. She was originally from Roseville, Calif.
“After I saw the attacks, I assumed she was safe, then the next morning, I got a call, that she didn’t make it,” Herrera said.
Between Midway Park and the main entrance to Camp Lejeune, you could see cars pulling to the side of the road. There are currently 13 pairs of combat boots, which were placed there with flowers and gifts for the fallen. Families visited throughout the day to pay their respects. A GoFundMe page set up for Gee’s funeral expenses has already reached its $110,000 goal.
Bars and restaurants around Jacksonville and Camp Lejeune reserved empty tables with 13 poured beers, one for each of the lost service members.
Gee has several grieving friends in the Jacksonville area. One of them, Mallory Harrison wrote on social media, “Her car is parked in our lot … for a month now … it’s been parked in our little lot on Camp Lejeune at the Comm Shop where I work … I drove it around the parking lot every once in a while to make sure it would be good for her when she came home … her car is still here and she’s gone, forever.”
Gee was 23. Her awards include the Marine Good Conduct Medal and The National Defense and Global War on Terrorism Service Award.
Her body, along with the 12 others killed, were being flown back to the United States on Sunday, according to the Department of Defense.