The Los Angeles Times reports on the death of Jake Yelner, a member of the U.S. Air Force with Jewish roots:
“He loved wearing the uniform. He loved serving his country,” his mother said. “I’m sure as a 24-year-old he had no idea he was going to die. He went to help the people of Afghanistan, to help build their homes. He’d say ‘Mom, I’m making a difference.’ “
Yelner, who was Jewish and Puerto Rican, attended Catholic schools throughout his childhood and graduated in 2002 from De La Salle High School in Walnut Creek. He also embraced his Jewish heritage and completed the bar mitzvah coming-of-age ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, his mother said.