YAROUN, Lebanon: The bodies of four young Lebanese men killed in a car crash in California last week were laid to rest Friday in the southern Lebanese border town of Yaroun.
Hussein Saleh, 22; Hussein Saab, 24; Hussein Ayyoub, 22; and Hussein Ghasham, 20, died on May 22 in Los Angeles, where they were studying, after they lost control of their car and crashed into a signpost.
Their bodies were repatriated in the early hours of Friday morning, and taken to Yaroun, their home village, in Red Cross vehicles.
Hundreds of local residents and about 80 expats who had traveled from the U.S. and Australia gathered to attend the funeral. Wearing all black, they bore four large silver coffins draped with somber black cloth, each emblazoned with a young man’s name in bright yellow.
They processed through the town amid roses and scattered rice.
The mother of Hussein Saab clutched a photo of her son. “My heart is reassured that he will continue his education in heaven with the members of the house of the Prophet and Imam Hussein.”
Local MP Hasan Fadlallah, who attended the funeral, noted that the Lebanese expats’ attendance of the funeral shows their insistence on preserving a connection with their homeland. Their “motherland is here,” he told The Daily Star.
Culture Minister Mohammad Daoud also emphasized the “importance of expatriation” and reiterated the Lebanese state’s responsibility toward expatriates, saying that “the state must look out for all Lebanese expatriates in every way possible.”
Yaroun Deputy Mayor Hussein Jaafar told the state-run National News Agency that the deaths of the four young men were “a sadness for all of Lebanon.”
The fatal car accident took place early Wednesday morning last week in the LA County city of South Gate as the four were returning from suhoor, the predawn meal consumed before a day of fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the NNA reported at the time.
A California Highway Patrol sergeant told U.S. news outlet that the vehicle appeared to have been traveling at a high speed before crashing.