KARLSTAD, M.N. - (Valley News Live) An entire Minnesota town nearly shut down Saturday as a fallen U.S. Marine was remembered one last time inside the high school where he graduated from less than two years ago.
Ln Cpl. Riley Stephen Kuznia, 20, returned home to Karlstad after his life was cut short while serving his country.
Kuznia’s life was celebrated Saturday afternoon at the Tri-County High School gymnasium.
“It was really sad, I was almost tearing up,” Gunner Koland, who attended the funeral, said. “I didn’t know Riley that well. But I always skated with him down at the rink here. It was just really sad.”
Kuznia was described as a selfless and courageous young man who pursued his dreams.
One of them was being a Marine, which tragically ended on January 1 at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. where he died.
“I’m just so deeply sorry for them, you know? To lose a family member has got to be unbelievable,” an attendee said.
“I just hope that everything is ok with them. I know they’ll always have room in their hearts for him, which is really nice,” another person said.
Markelle Kuznia said her son had love, care, and compassion for all people.
“It was very meaningful,” Darlene Gryskiewizz said. “Markelle, his mom, did a wonderful job eulogizing him. My sympathies go to his family.”
The circumstances behind Kuznia’s killing remains under investigation with authorities classifying it as a death and not a homicide.
After the funeral, Kuznia’s casket was taken to the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Stephen, Minnesota.