EDWARDSVILLE, Pa. — For seven years, Karen Declet of Edwardsville, with help from others, has put up a Christmas tree display at Veterans Park to honor those who served or are serving our country and won't make it home for the holidays.
Sometimes the display requires maintenance, especially on a windy day.
"Yeah, the wind got a little windy over last night in this morning, so the wind blew some of the stars off, so we just went around tightening all the, all the stars and replacing them and stuff," said Declet.
And it takes some time if you're paying close attention to detail like Declet does when she visits the tree.
"Well, I try to think of who they are. Who knows them, where they would want them to be on the tree. And so we just kind of placed them the best way we can," she explained.
A lighting ceremony took place over the weekend for The Edwardsville Warrior Tree.
This was a tradition Declet didn't want to be canceled by the pandemic.
"With all this craziness, we want to keep as much normalcy as we possibly can," Declet added.
Every year the tree has a theme or a message.
This year Declet says the message is for anyone who sees the tree to check in with the veteran they might know, especially during this time of isolation, because of the pandemic.
"With veterans, it's not always a good idea that they'd be isolated because thoughts start going through their mind, and you end up with suicides every day, and we don't want that happening," explained Declet. "So we were trying to put the message out if you know a veteran or you have a buddy in the service, just call them and check on them, make sure that they're okay, let them know that they're loved or not forgotten, they're not alone."
Declet says she hopes the tree also reminds people that not everyone can be home for Christmas, and those are the ones who deserve a moment of recognition.