CLEVELAND, TN. (WRCB)-- This 4th of July is full of new meaning for a Cleveland woman.
It's been Madeline Warren's life-long dream to visit the grave site of her only brother who died while serving in the second World War.
Recently she got the chance to visit his final resting place in Italy.
Madeline Warren was only eight-years-old when her brother died.
She spent her entire life piecing together the people and circumstances that led up to his death.
Her recent trip to Italy was nothing short of a dream come true.
"Overwhelming. Very just, I think that's the only way to express it," says Warren.
Those are the only words Madeline Warren knows to describe the experience of seeing her older brother's grave for the first time.
"You just wouldn't image that it would have been so well kept," says Warren.
As Warren watches the footage of herself being led to the cross over her brother's grave, it's clear the emotions of that day are still fresh and strong.
"The cross, the white crosses are marble the whitest white I have ever seen," says Warren.
On her mantle is a tribute to the older brother Warren lost when she was a girl. Private John E. Galyon was killed in Mediterranean, Italy. He was just 19-years-old.
"He was in the bloodiest battle in the whole war there when they came in Anzio on the beach head," says Warren.
That's where John's life ended and his body would stay. Over the years Warren was able to retrieve pictures, medals, and other little things to remind her of the brother she once had.
"This is the escort that the U.S. Embassy assigned to us," says Warren.
But nothing to compare with the experience of finally seeing his grave. And in the sea, close to 8,000 other fallen young men, Warren says she suddenly realized she wasn't alone.
"Makes you feel so much better cause you know where he is," says Warren.
After such a profound experience Warren says the 4th of July has come to mean so much more.
"It really gives you a deeper feeling of what freedom and independence means," says Warren.
Warren was able to make the trip to Italy with her son. With help from the American Embassy they visited the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery on Memorial Day. Warren was also able to meet 45 other World War II veterans at the cemetery that day.