Kitty Pacheco draped flags over her back porch - a symbol of the deep vein of patriotism that runs through her family.
"We have nearly 200 years of (combined) military service in our family," she said.
For Pacheco, the Fourth of July is a time not only to gather with family and friends, but also to celebrate a long line of service to the country. The holiday drew 50 people to the Pachecos' Lawrence home on Wednesday.
"I think our family really represents what this country is about," said Sara Pacheco of Ottawa, a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps and Kitty Pacheco's grandniece. "Our family has pretty much fought for everything we have and everything we do."
Kitty and her husband, Jess Pacheco, are first-generation Americans whose families both moved to the U.S. from Mexico.
Jess Pacheco spent 32 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and retiring as sergeant major. He stands with a straight posture. His voice carries easily.
"He's sergeant major drill instructor through and through," grandson John Engel Jr. said. "You can hear his voice before you see him."
Pacheco served three tours in Vietnam before being wounded.
"I didn't want to retire," he said. "It was my way of life. When you become a professional Marine or a professional soldier, it's just something that you live with and something that you do."
Brother John Pacheco of Ottawa served 20 years in the Marine Corps, retiring as gunnery sergeant.
"I miss 'em," he said of his years of service. "I have dreams about them."
Now as the younger generations grow, some follow the same path.
Sara Pacheco awaits a likely call to serve in Iraq.
"The only thing I can say is God bless them, Godspeed," Jess Pacheco said of soldiers fighting today. "You're just proud of them."