NASH COUNTY - ’Tis the season for tree decorating.
While many are typically decked with ornaments in celebration and joy, one tree in the state is being used as a memorial for the fallen.
It’s an idea Carie Jones had five years ago when she first created the NC Fallen Law Enforcement Memorial Tree and put it in her front yard.
Jones says she woke up in the middle of the night and posted to Facebook looking for a white tree and someone responded within an hour.
Part of the reason Jones started doing the tree was for her uncle Sharpsburg Police Chief Wayne Hathaway who died in 1997 but she also wanted to honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I do this to honor him and to honor everyone else that’s hanging on that tree cause they deserve to be honored every day. Every police officer needs respect and they need to give us respect we need to give them respect,” said Jones.
For two years the tree was outside of her house but the last couple of years it was set up at the Spring Hope Police Department and the Sharpsburg Police Department.
This year the tree is lit up at the Nashville Police Department.
Though it’s in Nash County, Jones puts the names of all 555 fallen officers from around the state.
“For me the hardest part is hanging all the names. You know if I had my choice which I don’t there wouldn’t be one single name on the tree,” said Jones.
She feels lucky and humbled to have help from the community to hang all the names, like Rocky Mount resident Alison Mills.
“It’s a lot of memories on that tree, a lot of unfortunate events but I think it’s wonderful that the Hathaway family takes charge of this and remembers the fallen,” said Mills.
The tree will be up at the Nashville Police Department until December 30.