OLIVE BRANCH, IL (KFVS) - A soldier with Heartland ties was killed Thursday in riots over the burning of Qurans at an American base.
Joshua Born, 25, from Florida, was shot to death along with another fellow soldier.
His mother-in-law, Cindy Parker, tells me the military reports an insurgent dressed as an Afghan soldier killed the two men.
Cindy and her daughter Megan spoke with me about Josh Friday morning from Cindy's home in Olive Branch.
"I think the thing that most impressed me about Josh is his love for his country and for being a soldier," Cindy tells me, as she holds her daughter's hand tight in her own.
It was Josh Born's love of cars that connected him with Megan Parker. They met through an online car site. Cindy recalls Josh and his dad coming to Olive Branch, then Megan heading down to Florida.
"And I told her when she left, don't come back saying you're getting married. And when she came back, that's what she said," Parker recalls with a smile.
Married on a Georgia beach in June of 2010, the soldier and his bride spent just 18 months together before he headed overseas. She held on to his wedding ring to keep it safe, bringing it back with her to Olive Branch.
"With Megan's permission," I asked, "Can you tell me about the last time that they spoke?"
"Yes, is that alright Megan?" Her daughter nods and she continues. "He called her Wednesday night and asked her if she had heard the news, if she knew what was going on in the country. And, he was pretty close to the riots and he said that it was crazy there but that he didn't think that he would be in danger, that he thought it would be OK."
Both Cindy and Megan tell me, they avoided news coverage of Afghanistan so they wouldn't worry too much. But, it would be an online post Thursday morning that brought her to her knees.
"That's an unfortunate part of this and I haven't mentioned this to you yet, but Megan found out on Facebook."
"It doesn't seem real," Parker admits. "It's like when we talk to people about it, it's like we're talking about someone else's story."
The family plans to bury Born's body at the National Veteran's Cemetery in Mounds.
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has told his troops that "now is not the time for revenge" for the deaths of Born and another soldier killed in riots over the burning of Qurans at an American base.
U.S. Gen. John Allen traveled late Thursday to Nangarhar province to calm U.S. troops at the forward operating base where the incident occurred earlier in the day.
He told them to resist whatever urge they might have to strike back after an Afghan soldier killed the two American troops. His comments were released Friday.
Afghan National Army Gen. Sher Mohammed Karimi, who traveled to the base with Allen, told the U.S. troops that their sacrifice is not wasted.
Karimi says the Americans and Afghans together are "fighting an enemy of humanity."