Our Heroes' Tree[SM]: Honoring Servicemembers throughout the Year

By Hames, Jacqueline M. | Soldiers Magazine, November 2010 | Go to article overview

Our Heroes' Tree[SM]: Honoring Servicemembers throughout the Year


Hames, Jacqueline M., Soldiers Magazine


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"REFLECT, remember, rejoice," is the slogan of the Our Heroes' Tree program, an initiative honoring the service of all military members.

Through a display of ornaments on a tree, the program aims to recognize and remember both servicemembers and their Families.

Stephanie Pickup, an Army spouse, and Marlene Lee, the mother of a Soldier, founded the Our Heroes' Tree program in 2005 as a way to stay connected to their Soldiers and unite their communities.

The program is for anyone connected to the military in some way, Pickup said. "You don't have to be an Army wife to have a hero on the Heroes' Tree."

"Our Heroes' Tree program is a community-based program that honors the service and sacrifice of our nation's military and their Families," Pickup explained.

The underlying principles allow people to adapt the program to their communities' needs while still maintaining a theme, Lee added.

There are three main principles to the OHT, according to the program's founders:

Start a tradition, share community spirit, and unite the community in patriotic pride. The program honors servicemembers and helps bring Families together to support each other during deployments, or when a loved one is killed.

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The requirements for OHT are two American flags at the top of the "tree," a yellow ribbon, individual ornaments for servicemembers, and the recitation of the Our Heroes' Tree poem during the tree dedication ceremony, Lee said. …

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