BRYAN, Ohio — There were final goodbyes Saturday from the community of Bryan as they celebrated the life of Pvt. First Class Brandon Kreischer. The 20-year-old was killed in action in Afghanistan at the end of July.
Hundreds gathered in the Bryan High School Gym to remember Kreischer who served proudly as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne.
Among the guests, many veterans who didn't know him personally but wanted to honor his sacrifice.
"Sometimes we get a call saying we have a WWII vet or Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, something like that, but when you get a KIA, it touches a little bit different. You're talking early 20s, sometimes even younger," Patriot Guard Member Frank Harris said.
Friends and family were greeted at the door by dozens of members of the patriot guard, a group that makes sure no soldier is forgotten in death.
"It does pull at your emotions, because people that show up, it shows we still have that pride in America, that respect for our military and our veterans," Harris said.
Inside, the gym was lined with photos of the man who just over a year ago was graduating from the very same school.
Friends, teachers and fellow soldiers shared their fond memories of the soldier, husband and soon-to-be father.
Harris said he wants to make sure people remember America still has troops deployed, still has people fighting for the United States' freedoms and still has soldiers like Kreischer who are making the ultimate sacrifice.
"A lot of the stuff from Iraq and Afghanistan has slowed down so much, you don't hear about it much like you did years ago, but we still have men and women over there every single day putting their life on the line," Harris said.