LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- Monday evening a special Memorial Day ceremony was held in Lafayette to remember those who never came home.
Dozens met at the Lafayette Hillside Memorial, a location where there are currently more than 2,000 crosses representing those who died in battle.
Individuals like Senior Airman Jonathan Antonio Vega Yelner, Jake to friends, Vega to those in his convoy, and son to his mom Yolanda.
"He joined the Air Force, and I remember when he called me and said, 'guess what I'm doing mom?' He said 'I'm going to join the Air Force,'" said Yolanda Vega.
Yolanda shared Jonathan's story to the crowd at the Lafayette Hillside Memorial, said to be 'a place for remembering.'
Two tours in and Jonathan came back with more news to share with his mom back in 2007.
"He said 'I'm going to Afghanistan.' No you're not. He said, 'Yeah I am.' I said 'No you're not' and he said, 'Yup I am' so he left January 2008 and he was killed April 29, 2008," said Vega.
Yolanda, now a Gold Star Mom, fought back her emotions as she spoke with us and as she talked to others about her son.
"Then the next day there were two Air Force men in my office. My secretary came out and said there are two Air Force men. They need to speak with you, and I didn't want to see them. It's been one day at a time, one foot in front of the other," said Vega.
It's that courage that was recognized by those at Monday's event.
"Thank you, no one can ever repay you for the unbelievable loss you had, but thank you for supporting your family member," said U.S. Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10).
Each cross representing a family like Yolanda's. They're still dealing with loss, but focusing on the good. In this case, the last thing Jonathan said to his mom before that dark day.
"Mommy I'm doing what's right, I'm serving my country. That's what he said to me the last time I spoke with him. He was in Afghanistan," said Vega.
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