Whitewright community holds candlelight vigil for fallen soldier

WHITEWRIGHT, TX -- A fallen soldier was honored by his family and community tonight at the school where he graduated just two years ago.

Thursday night, family, friends, and community members gathered here at Whitewright High School to remember Private First Class Christian "Jake" Chandler. Kind words and laughs were shared at the ceremony celebrating and honoring his life.

"I know Jake is smiling down on each and every one of you," said Aunt, Lana Chandler.

"His laugh..if you were in our class or if knew him you knew exactly what laugh I'm talking about," said friend, Brittany Lucas.

Chandler's family and friends say they want him to be remembered for his service and his outgoing and friendly personality.

Shayna Powell, who's been friends with him since 6th grade, couldn't help but smile when talking about him.

"Jake was very fun loving and loud and he always knew how to make you laugh," Powell said. "He was like the class clown, always silly and goofy."

Chandler was killed in action Monday while serving in Afghanistan.

His 10th mountain division unit was attacked by small arms fire in the Logar Province.

Aunt, Lana Chandler says the support has been overwhelming in Whitewright where he went to school, and in Clarksville, where he was raised.

"We are just in awe of what people are doing in the small hometown of Clarksville and the entire town has changed their profile pictures to Jake," Chandler said.

Chandler joined the army in October 2012, just months after graduating Whitewright High School, and deployed last October as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

He was supposed to be coming home in July.

Upon the Army's approval, Chandler's step-dad will travel to Dover, Delaware to escort his son home.


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