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A 'Great Man', Fallen Soldier Aaron Toppen Laid to Rest

Photo Gallery: Friends, family and a community said goodbye to a local hero Tuesday as PFC Aaron Toppen was laid to rest at St. John Cemetery.

A carriage pulled by a black horse carried PFC Aaron Toppen, 19, to his final resting place at St. John Cemetery in Mokena. | Credit: Cindy Beyer Scalone
A carriage pulled by a black horse carried PFC Aaron Toppen, 19, to his final resting place at St. John Cemetery in Mokena. | Credit: Cindy Beyer Scalone
A community came together to mourn, but also to celebrate the life of Aaron Toppen, a 19-year-old Mokena resident killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan June 9. 

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow addressed a Parkview Christian Church filled with a heartbroken public, eulogizing Toppen as a "great man" and a devoted soldier who proved himself a “quiet professional."

The 2013 graduate of Lincoln-Way East High School was among five American troops killed by an airstrike while on patrol June 9. The air strike was issued after the Taliban attacked his unit. 

Snow vouched that Toppen knew the risks tied to his service, and did not balk at the commitment to defend his country—even if it meant his own life on the line. Toppen did not waiver in his commitment to serve, though struck by the tragic loss of his father just before his scheduled deployment. His deployment was delayed to allow him time to attend the funeral.

A horse-drawn carriage took Toppen to his final resting place at St. John Cemetery, as mourners lined Wolf Road much of the 3.5-mile stretch from Parkview to the cemetery. Flags fluttered as the soldier's remains were carried through his hometown. 

Parkview Pastor Tim Harlow said Toppen's patriotism was "born deep in his soul."

Read more about the impact of Toppen's death on the community:
Raggedyann June 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM
Larry, As for me, a no comment from me, does not mean I have not noted this senseless death, but I get so overwhelmed and feel so helpless, I can't find adequate words to express how strongly I feel. Know tho, my heart goes out to his family and friends. who will be affected by this for the rest of their life. As for him, may he be rejoicing now and forever in his new life.
Eric Blair June 25, 2014 at 08:48 PM
Does it make you feel better when you say and post those hollow slogans? R.I.P., God Bless You, Thankyou for your service, and the rest? It’s us the American people who killed this goodhearted and brave kid. He was too young and naïve to understand the evil politics behind these wars. We failed him by not putting an end to these senseless endeavors long ago. The ones who signed the PNAC Document along with the Zionist authors and promoters of the insane strategy paper “A Clean Break: A New Strategy For Securing The Realm” should have been hanged more than ten years ago. Profits in the corporations that helped push this crap are higher than ever, the very definition of “blood money”. Despite the b.s. propaganda these countries were never a threat to us. Look now at Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Disgusting what this country did to them, and it’s not over. “We” gained nothing and lost so much. Instead of some hollow slogan to Aaron I’d rather apologize to him and his family for the way things turned out and the willful ignorance/apathy of way too many Americans. I’m truly sorry Aaron. You no doubt meant well.
Herc June 25, 2014 at 10:09 PM
Not a time to talk politic's! Let the young mans family have peace at this time.
Raggedyann June 25, 2014 at 10:47 PM
If what your saying is true Eric Blair, what would you suggest the average American do about it? Voting is a joke and just something to make the peasants think they're in control.
Eric Blair June 26, 2014 at 08:09 AM
Raggedyann, your post is very true. There is nothing we can do about it. This country has been balkanized for a reason. Surely you have heard of “divide and conquer”. With the exception of that Zionist scumbag Eric Cantor it looks like the stupid American people are set to reelect the same cockroaches again that are destroying this country. I’m afraid we’re toast. We failed our kids. In the meantime you might read Paul Craig Roberts, if you can handle the truth, he’s always right on in his commentaries.

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