• Nebraska teen's senior pictures honor father who died during military tour in Afghanistan

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    A Nebraska teenager paid tribute to her late father through her high school senior pictures.

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    Julia Yllescas, a senior at Aurora High School, wanted her father to be a part of her senior pictures. Her father, Capt. Robert Yllescas, died Dec. 1, 2008, in Bethesda, Maryland, from injuries he received from an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan.

    Yllescas had her senior pictures taken Saturday and sent them to photographer Susanne Beckmann to see if she could create an "angel picture," KOLN reported.

    Julie Yllescas loved the first two photographs that Beckmann worked on, They show her sitting and standing next to a faint shadow of her father in uniform, the radio station reported.

    "Why it has hit my heart so hard is that I almost felt when I saw those pictures that he truly was there,” Yllescas told KOLN. "And to have a piece of him with me throughout my senior year. Because sometimes it feels like where are you, why did you have to go."

    Beckmann, whose husband has served in the Nebraska National Guard for 16 years, was only too happy to create the images.

    "I was teary-eyed when I was editing them," Beckmann told KOLN. "All I could think in my head is I don't ever want to have to do this for my own kids."

    Beckmann, who has run Snapshots by Suz for eight years, said she has known the Yllescas family since Julia was 9. 

    "I thought it would be a great idea to do these angel pictures for her as a special gift for her big milestone and to her family," Beckmann told Cox Media Group by telephone Tuesday morning. "I am an active duty National Guard wife, which is what inspired the idea and the vision.

    "I take a lot of pictures of military families and it is always an honor for me to capture their special memories."

    The photographs that include her father are a comfort for Yllescas

    "Just to have that on my wall and be like, 'No, he is with me,' even though I can't physically see him,” she told KOLN.

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