Group dedicating Christmas tree at state Capitol to military

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Snowy Christmas Tree Festus, Mo

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ A group that honors members of the armed forces killed in battle will dedicate a Christmas tree in the state Capitol rotunda to fallen service people and their families.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register ( ) says America’s Gold StarFamilies will hold a ceremony on Monday in the first of what the group hopes will become an annual event.

The organization has 130 ornaments to pay tribute to individual service members. Most died in Afghanistan and Iraq but there are ornaments honoring those killed in World War II and the Civil War.

America’s Gold Star Families President Patti Smith says the group wanted to pay tribute not just to those who died but their families as well because the holidays can be such a difficult time for them.