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The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be a famous war hero.

They thought he would always be the littlest, the runt. They thought he would be the small, irresponsible baby of the family. They thought he would always be theirs.

Now, he belonged to the world. Now, he was a repeatedly decorated Army officer with international acclaim. Now, he was a hero.

At least, that was what the chaplin said as he handed the folded flag with the spent shells to his mother.

How unnatural it was to outlive her son. How unfair.

99 words