Like all "oldest" kids in a family, I was jealous of my classmates with older siblings. They seemed so much cooler than me and had a much greater knowledge of Madonna, Tiffany and Wham! It felt like I had been dealt an unfair advantage just because my parents had me first.
Then, when we were ten, one of my friends announced she was going to be an aunt. My stomach boiled with jealousy. An aunt? At the rate my baby sister was taking to be potty trained, I wouldn't be an aunt til my 40s!
Then, we grew up.
Through Facebook, I watched my friend post pictures of her handsome nephew, now a teen and then a young man in his 20s. He was tall and strong, a Marine. She posted pictures of him at his graduation from basic training and at her wedding. He proposed to his girlfriend at Soldier Field and his proud aunt posted pictures of that. Then he was deployed overseas and my friend posted pictures of her whole family saluting the camera for him, big smiles on their faces.
On Thursday, he was killed in action in Afghanistan.
I am so devastated for their family. Could you guys send them positive thoughts and prayers, if you're the type who prays? This has really driven home the fact that so many families in the last decade have had to bury their pride and joys in the flower of their youth.
This is Conner Lowry and he is a hero.