Service held for Mokena soldier

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A memorial service was held in the south suburbs for Private 1st Class Aaron Toppen Monday.

Service members, firefighters and old friends joined Toppen’s family as well as Gov Quinn in remembering the fallen soldier.

19-year-old Private 1st Class Toppen, a native of Mokena, always wanted to serve and to be in the army and to give of himself for something greater.

Pastor Tim Harlow of Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park said, Toppen “had a tattoo that said, ‘For those I love I sacrifice,’ one of the army mottos. And he did.”

Toppen served proudly in Afghanistan until two weeks ago, when out on a mission, his team encountered an ambush by Taliban fighters. They called in air support and it was that friendly fire that took five American lives, including Toppen.

Saturday, he came home to a welcome fit for a hero; a procession that began at Midway, passed somber crowds and hundreds of flags and yellow ribbons.

A funeral will be held tomorrow morning. Toppen will be laid to rest at St John’s Cemetery in Mokena.



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