EFFINGHAM, Ill. (AP) — Jane Loy Ries is keeping alive the World War II stories she heard as a child.

Ries has decorated for the second year an 8-foot Christmas tree in the Effingham County Museum with ornaments honoring those who served in the war.

The retired second-grade public schoolteacher started the project when she was still in the classroom. Pupils “adopted” a veteran and were instructed to learn about him.

The Effingham Daily News reports that 200 veterans are represented on the ornaments featuring red hearts backing the veterans’ photos.

Ries was profoundly affected as a baby boomer growing up and hearing her parents and their neighbors telling stories about the war during card games or coffee klatches.

Visitors are affected too. Many cry as they circle the tree.


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