Eugene Cho

dong yun yoon: the man who lost his family in the san diego jet crash

Dong Yun Yoon cries while talking about losing his wife, two daughters, and mother-in law after an F/A-18D fighter jet crashed into his house in the University City neighborhood of San Diego, California December 9, 2008. The victims were identified as Dong Yun Yoon's wife Young M. Yoon, and their daughters 15-month-old Grace and 12-month-old Rachel. Young Yoon's mother, Suk Kim, who was visiting from South Korea also perished in the crash. The family had moved to the neighborhood a month ago. Dong Yun Yoon was at work at the time of the accident.

Part II:  Why aren’ t we drawn to Don Yun Yoon?

The story is brutally painful.  As a husband and father, I can not imagine a more painful thing.  Dong Yun Yoon [English name is Don Yoon], 37, was at work at his cafe when he discovered the horrible news of a F/A-18 jet crashing into a residential home – his home.  His wife, two young babies, and his mother-in-law who had recently arrived from Korea to help take care of the babies [a Korean custom] all were killed in this tragedy.  But in the midst of such deep anguish and pain, Dong Yun Yoon asked people to pray for the surviving pilot of the crashed jet and shared:

“I know he’s one of our treasures, for the country, and I … don’t blame him. I don’t have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could.”

I listen to the Dong Yun Yoon’s video interview on CNNand couldn’t stop crying.  Regardless who’s involved, it’s an utterly painful tragedy but looking at him is like looking at a familiar face.  As a Korean immigrant myself, his story his familiar.  His voice and broken English is familiar.  His comments and words are familiar.  The people standing around him all are familiar.  In many ways, I feel like he’s my younger brother or cousin.  He was doing what many Korean immigrants do – work their tails off to provide for their family.  He was working at his coffee shop nearby.  Yoon immigrated to the United States in 1989 with his brother and sister while his parents remained in Korea [something all too familiar with many Korean immigrants] all in hopes and pursuit of the great American dream.  Dong Yun later became a U.S. citizen.

He married his wife, Young Mi Yoon [a nurse], four years ago and had two children: Grace [15 months] and Rachel [2 months].   They had just moved into this house one month ago.

“My wife — it was God’s blessing that I met her about four years ago, and we got married,” he said quietly. “She’s just such a lovely wife and mother, who always loves me, and (the) babies. I just miss her so much.” Read the rest of this entry »

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