Everyone in Danville knew Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Corral as Chachi, including San Ramon Valley High students who only remember him as a friendly, laughing kid they saw in the halls between class.
Some 2,100 San Ramon Valley High students were let out of class Monday afternoon to line Danville Boulevard in front of campus to pay tribute to a former schoolmate who, in the words of one senior, made "the ultimate sacrifice."
The students came to watch a procession of vehicles bringing Corral, 19, back home. Corral's body arrived on an airplane at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield shortly after noon. His family, riding in a limousine, and more than 100 motorcyclists from the Warriors Watch Riders escorted him back to Danville.
The procession passed under a massive American flag, hanging between the raised ladders of two San Ramon Valley Fire District trucks posted on either side of Danville Boulevard just south of El Cerro Boulevard.
A machine gunner and 2010 San Ramon Valley High graduate, Corral was fatally injured serving with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment from the air-ground combat training base at Twentynine Palms.
"It's good to come out here and support someone who was fighting for our country, fighting for what he believed in," said senior Dakota Ricketts, who said he remembered Chachi from his freshman year.
Ricketts' father is a Marine and he himself has thought of joining up himself. He was among fellow seniors who were holding flags in Corral's honor. "We want to show how lucky we are to have people like him."
It has been 10 days since Danville learned that Corral had been killed. The outpouring of grief and support for Corral's parents and three brothers has been tremendous.
The community has turned out for a candlelight vigil and a memorial ceremony Saturday evening at San Ramon Valley High. Another memorial will take place 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the East Bay Fellowship Church, 2615 Camino Tassajara in Danville.