Grafton, OHIO - While many in northeast Ohio were out enjoying parades and fireworks, others spent the holiday honoring fallen soldiers.
For some, time spent on the Fourth of July with a loved one who died a veteran was about memories. "With my dad, it was always a big thing," said Tish Keszeg. "He was very proud of being in the war, but he never spoke of it with my sister and I because of what he went through in World War II."
For Tish, her mother and others on July 4, the Western Reserve National Cemetery For Veterans in Wayne County is where they celebrated patriotism. Saundra Penn has four relatives buried there and brought her grandchildren to see their graves.
"That's their great-grandparents over there and I want them to know their grandpa was a good man, too."
Penn has firm views on what she thinks about patriotism and what these soldiers experienced. "He would have nightmares from Vietnam. Nobody knows what I went through. He'd wake up in cold sweats, fighting. If somebody would drop something, he'd wake up jumping," she explained.
Penn had this message for everybody on the sacrifices our troops make. "Do something for your people that are over there fighting for you. When they come come, have a job or something. Don't hand them no check," Penn added.
For Tammi Jankovic, the Fourth of July is close to her heart. Jankovic, who works at the VA Hospital, came to the cemetery on her day off to remember her uncle, Emil Schmidt, a Vietnam War veteran. Schmidt is buried next to his wife, Karen.
Jankovic grew up with her aunt and uncle and said they meant so much to her. She fondly recalled how the kids would call her Schmidt "Uncle Momo," because none of them could pronounce Emil.
"To me, it was him and all these other people fighting for our freedom, to give us what we have today," she said.
The Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman opened in 2000 and remains open everyday to visitors.
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Wayne Co. Headlines
An early morning chase in Knox County had prompted a Blue Alert after the suspect in pursuit reportedly hit a deputy, severely injuring him, and took off.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is currently investigating a one-vehicle fatal crash in Wayne County Sunday morning.