Updated 06/24/14 – 5:34 p.m.
MOKENA, Ill. (CBS) — Friends and family of a fallen soldier from Mokena said their final goodbyes on Tuesday at a funeral service was held for 19-year-old Army Pfc. Aaron Toppen, who was killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports Toppen was with a special operations unit on June 9 when they were ambushed by Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan. Toppen and four other soldiers were mistakenly killed by a U.S. airstrike called in to help them.
“The freedom to live in the greatest country in the history of mankind can come at a very dear price,” said his uncle, Jack Winter.
Toppen grew up in Mokena and graduated from Lincoln-Way East High School last year.
Dr. Tim Harlow, senior pastor at Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, said Toppen’s family is comforted knowing he’s with his father, who died four months ago.
“If there’s a double tragedy in the fact that dad and son have both been lost this close to each other, there’s double comfort in the fact that we really believe that Aaron and Ron are together,” he said. “We really believe that they’re in a better place, and we really believe we’re going to see them again.”