A Christmas tradition has returned to American Legion Nicholson Memorial Post 953 even bigger than before.
For several years, the Legion has decorated its Veterans Tree at the World War II Veterans Monument on State Street for the holiday season, but it had to take a hiatus last year when the tree died.
“We’ve been shopping around and got a new one planted about two weeks ago,” said Post 953 Commander Judith Potts.
Over the weekend on the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, members of the community gathered to decorate the tree, which bears the names of nearly 200 veterans from the Nicholson area, dating from World War I to present day.
Sunday School children from the First Presbyterian Church of Nicholson created red, white and blue garland for the tree, while the Presbyterian Women wrote the names of the veterans on the ornaments.
Since many of the ornaments from previous years had gotten old, the Presbyterian Women decided to replace them. Last time the Legion decorated the tree, the numbers were in the 60s.
“We asked people to give us names,” said Pat Acker with the Presbyterian Women. “The names of all of the members of the Legion are on there and other veterans. People can add more too.”
Nicholson Heritage Association President Marion Sweet also helped provide the group with the names of local veterans.
Acker said everyone was excited for the return of the tree, and she hopes it fills their hearts with thanks for the men and women who have made sacrifices on their behalf.
“We’re always glad to support our veterans,” Acker said. “We’re so excited and the children were very excited too. We have a small Sunday School, but everybody got involved.”
Potts, who served in the Women’s Army Corps during the Vietnam War, reminded that even though the tree has already been decorated, anyone is welcome to hang an ornament to honor a special veteran in their life.
When people see the tree, she hopes they recognize the history behind it and never forget.
Whether it’s a family member, friend or neighbor, everyone likely has a personal connection to a veteran in some way, she said.
“I just want them to understand that there’s a sacrifice and I’d like them to honor the veterans that make the sacrifice,” Potts said. “I hope that they look at it with remembrance.”