Tree pays homage to veterans' service

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In celebration of Veteran’s Day, Jackson County Public Library is remembering those who have served in the military through decorations.

Throughout the month of November, the “Our Heroes Tree” has been on display at the main branch in Seymour as well as branch libraries in Medora and Crothersville.

Information Services librarian Becky Brewer said library visitors can help decorate the trees by making ornaments for family members or friends who have served in the military.

Participants may bring in ornaments made with their own materials or may use materials available at the library, she said.

The heroes tree initiative was co-founded in 2005 by Stephanie Pickup, author of “The Soldier’s Tree,” and Marlene Lee, author of “The Hero in My Pocket,” to promote awareness of the service and sacrifice of U.S. service members and their families.

Brewer said the Jackson County Public Library began the tradition five years ago when the Purdue Military Family Research Institute sponsored a grant for the program across Indiana. Jackson County libraries continue to participate, although the program is now sponsored by the Indiana State Library.

“We like to honor veterans all we can,” Brewer said. “A lot of us feel like we need to do all we can to honor the veterans and current servicemen.”

Brewer said she keeps the ornaments from year to year to be placed on the tree again.

“This year loads of people came in and put up ornaments,” Brewer said. “If you stop and look what they’ve written on them, it’s touching.”

Seymour resident Julie Nay said she and her daughter both put ornaments on the tree — one for her father, Albert Ray, and her husband’s father, Donald Nay.

“Having served their country for both of them was very important,” she said of her father and father-in-law. “They both were very patriotic, loved their country and what it stood for, and were happy to serve.”

Nay said both of the men served during the Korean War but have now passed away. She said the “Our Heroes Tree” is a way to remember them and a way to say “thank you.”

“I think we have been very blessed, and we owe that to our veterans who gave their time and their lives for us to have wonderful freedoms in this country,” Nay said. “We take a lot of things for granted. People need to intentionally take the time to say ‘thank you.’”

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