Dead on the 4th of July

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"They killed my son, Aaron!" an anguished David Masters Twittered on Independence Day, leading to worldwide condolences over the death of his stepson, Pvt. Aaron Fairbairn, 20, of Aberdeen (left). He and a fellow soldier were killed when a Taliban suicide bomber drove an explosives-filled truck through the gates of their base in Paktika province, at the start of what has become, since war began in 2001, the deadliest month of U.S. fighting in Afghanistan, with 30 so far.

Fairbairn, along with Lt. Brian Bradshaw, 24, of Steilacoom,

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were just added to SW's war dead pages, Facing Our Losses, bringing the Afghan toll of troops with Washington connections to 32, along with another 278 killed in Iraq. Bradshaw (right) died after his vehicle struck a roadside bomb and he transferred to a second vehicle when it, too, struck an improvised device. More than 600 gathered for his recent funeral in Lakewood, while another 600 turned out for Fairbairn's services in Aberdeen. His brother, Beau Beck, recalled that "Every conversation with Aaron started with, 'How's my truck doing?'" referring to his favorite red Ford pickup back home. He rode in it one last time when it carried his body to his memorial service.

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