A father's desire to honor his stepson, slain in Afghanistan on Independence Day, quickly became one of Twitter's top-trending topics late Saturday and early Sunday.
"They killed my son, Aaron!" tweeted David M. Masters, a public speaker, author and weight-loss coach in Aberdeen, Wash., at about 6 p.m. EDT Saturday.
"He was minding his own business BS-ing with an Officer on base in Afghanistan... When a suicide bomber, driving a truck breached the perimiter and pushed the button...Killing my son, Aaron and the Officer," continued Masters in three more "tweets," which have a limit of 140 characters each.
"I'd like to see "Thank you, Aaron," show up on the Trending Topics for giving his life on Independence Day in Afghanistan," Master quickly added.
The phrase "#thankyouaaron" quickly rose up the Twitter charts and stayed there through Sunday morning, after which it was crowded out by half a dozen Wimbledon-related terms.
"Now THIS is a trending topic. Thank you's to ALL the soldiers who make life in this country possible," tweeted user "ProfitMoney."
"#thankyouaaron and everyone else who has given their lives in the past for all of us, and for the ideas that built this country," said user "KappaSigCraver."
Others were more skeptical, noting that no news had been released about any American soldier named "Aaron" being killed on July 4.
But wire reports did note that two American personnel were killed Saturday as Taliban insurgents attacked a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province, an attack that also included a truck bomb exploding near the gates of the base.
The Pentagon usually takes several days to release the names of military personnel killed in action.
Another wire report said two members of the NATO-led multinational force were killed in southern Afghanistan Saturday, without stating the dead personnel's nationalities.
Calls to the Pentagon's public-affairs office went unanswered, and attempts to reach David Masters were unsuccessful.
But Masters related how he got the news of his stepson's death to the Jerusalem Post.
"There was a knock at the door," he told the Israeli English-language newspaper. "I was on the phone with one of my other sons, when I looked out the door and saw two full-dress officers on the porch."
"We thought, oh, God, this couldn't be," Masters added. "We just talked to him last night. He said he never leaves the base, is playing video games, watching TV… and working out with free weights. ... His life is led by God, strength and honor."
Internet searches revealed that David Master has a stepson named Aaron Fairbairn, whose own MySpace page reveals that he is 21 years old and currently serving in Afghanistan.
One of his posted photos shows him at attention in an Army uniform.
Other family members' MySpace pages referred to the news of Aaron Fairbairn's death.
"Missing Aaron terriblly!!! Thank you for defending our country!! You are loved and will be remembered always!!! It still feels unreal!" wrote one of his brothers.
"R.I.P Little Brother...I Miss You and will Always Love You :( .. just landed in philly..on the way to delaware . waitin for aarons body to land," wrote one of his sisters.
David Masters had Twittered earlier Sunday that his wife and two remaining stepchildren had flown to Dover, Del., to await Aaron's body.
Masters has three children of his own, according to his family's Web site.