Soldier Aaron Toppen's body returns home to Mokena

EMBED </>More Videos

It was a sad homecoming for a soldier killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. (WLS)

It was a sad homecoming for a soldier killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan when Aaron Toppen's body arrived in Mokena Saturday, and the welcome was one fit for a hero.

The plane carrying the remains of Army Private Aaron Toppen arrived at Midway Airport to a large crowd of supporters. The Fire Department provided a water tunnel to honor the fallen soldier.

The plane then pulled into the hanger, where a gathering of family and friends watched as the flag-draped coffin is removed from the plane while "Amazing Grace" is played.

Many are overcome with emotion. Toppen was one of five American troops killed during a battle in Afghanistan two weeks ago.

"There are no words in the English language or any language to relieve the pain of losing a special young man like Private Toppen," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

A procession with the hearse carried Toppen's body from the airport, where people line the streets displaying American flags. The procession also passed trees pinned with yellow ribbons in Toppen's honor along the route.

Many of the people never met Private Toppen, but they support the military and honor his sacrifice.

"I'm here because I think it's really important to support all of our troops, both living and those who have passed," said Lila Sepulveda.

The procession ended in Toppen's home town of Mokena, where more flags are draped and hundreds of mourners are gathered to welcome the solder home.

His family has said on social media Toppen wanted to be a soldier and died doing what he always wanted to do. They call him a hero. Governor Quinn agrees.

"God did not give him a long chronological life, but he had a purposeful life. He understood the importance of democracy, the importance of volunteering and service, and we ask God to bless his immortal soul," the governor said.

Visitation for Private Toppen will be Monday from 1-9 p.m. at Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park. The funeral will be Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. at the church. He will be buried at St. John's Cemetery in Mokena.
Related Topics:
afghanistan warsoldier killedMokena
(Copyright ©2018 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)