As Americans take time today to honor those who have served our country in the armed forces, a local institution is asking Callaway County residents with loved ones who are veterans to help create a tribute to that service.
The Churchill Memorial and Library once again is putting together a Holiday Honor Tree, featuring photos of veterans strung on its branches from now until Jan.7.
"We wanted a way to honor veterans and we didn't just want to put pictures up on the wall," said museum archivist curator Liz Murphy. "We thought, why not decorate a tree? It's different and it's special because it ties in the veterans and the holidays."
She said anyone with a photo of a veteran can submit a copy of a photograph to be included in the tribute.
"It can be a veteran from the Civil War all the way up to the current conflict," Murphy said. "Just put their name, rank and what war or years they served."
She said the museum is accepting only copies of photos as they will not be returned - a hole will be punched at the top to hang it on the tree. Those with photos can either scan it and e-mail the image to firstname.lastname@example.org, bring in a copy themselves, or mail it to the memorial at 501 Westminster Ave., Fulton, MO 65251.
Fulton VFW Post 2657 member Tom Maupin said his organization already has provided some pictures of members in uniform, and the Ladies Auxiliary plans to submit more soon.
"I think it's absolutely great. I think it's good any time we promote the sacrifices of the veterans," Maupin said Wednesday, noting this particular project is a way to connect the VFW and the college. "As I said to the students last night (Westminster College students held a ceremony to honor veterans Tuesday night), we need to be working closer with Westminster and William Woods to support one another because we have a lot of people coming back from the war on terror and they come back to get their degrees."
Murphy said the museum has received only five veterans' pictures thus far, but she is hoping for more and aims to collect at least 100 this year. She said she would encourage anyone with an image of a veteran to bring a copy for the Honor Tree.
"This is a really unique opportunity," Murphy said. "It's a very public way to honor our vets. It's our way of saying (to veterans) "Thank you, for everything you've done.'"