A Utah Marine who died in a horrific suicide bombing at Afghanistan’s Kabul airport was a young boy when the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 happened, but he already knew he wanted to serve in the military, his family said.

Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, 31, was remembered Aug. 29 at a vigil that attracted hundreds of people to the Utah capitol, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. Hundreds waved American flags and sung patriotic songs.

His uncle Billy “BB” Barnett told the crowd that his nephew had signed up the first chance he got.

“He was disciplined, determined and knew his calling,” he said. “He was a Marine and a warrior from birth and no doubt long before that.”

The vigil was held hours after the remains of all 13 U.S. troops killed in the attack arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Maryland. The Aug. 26 bombing also claimed the lives of more than 160 Afghans.

Utah state and Congressional leaders attended the vigil.

“The best way to describe Staff Sgt. Hoover is that he was a U.S. Marine,” said Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, “because those are the words that describe the men and women who, for 20 years, have stood on that wall and kept that hell from our doorstep.”

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