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Hanging Of The Bows

Memorial Tree Gathering Celebrates 20 Years

The 20th annual Hanging of the Bows on the Memorial Christmas Tree took place Sunday evening in Cherry Creek. Pictured is the tree in the gazebo of the Memorial Park on Main Street in the hamlet, as participants gathered to honor and remember their loved ones. P-J photo by Sue Ann Fish

CHERRY CREEK — Sunday evening capped off a gray, rainy and cold first day of December, but the mood in the gazebo of Cherry Creek’s Memorial Park was anything but that, as nearly 50 participants gathered for what would be the 20th hanging of the bows on the two Memorial Christmas trees in the park.

Sponsored by the Cherry Creek Community Association Inc., the gathering began in the Torn Hall, where those participating picked up the bows they had ordered a few weeks prior. Bows colored red, white and blue were hung in honor of those who served in our nation’s military.

Pink bows were in remembrance of those lost due to cancer, while white bows designated emergency personnel. Red bows were hung in honor of all others being remembered.

For some, the grief was fresh. For others, it was not. But for all, it was a nostalgic remembrance of loved ones no longer present, and a way to remember them, and include them in a Christmas celebration of life.

The idea for the annual hanging of the bows on the Memorial Tree originated in Buffalo, and was brought to Cherry Creek by Barbara Smith.

The 20th annual Hanging of the Bows on the Memorial Christmas Tree took place Sunday evening in Cherry Creek. Pictured is the tree in the gazebo of the Memorial Park on Main Street in the hamlet, as participants gathered to honor and remember their loved ones. P-J photo by Sue Ann Fish

“I thought it would be a nice idea to adopt in our little town and be a good way to remember our loved ones,” Smith said. “We began in 1999, and the entire event was held at the Methodist Church. We hung the bows on the big evergreen tree outside the church, then went inside for a reception of hot cocoa, coffee and cookies.”

Smith enlisted the help of her friend, Nancy Hall, and they sat together and made and labeled all the bows for the inaugural event.

Twenty years later, the Memorial Tree Celebration continues to grow. In 2006, the gazebo was added to the Memorial Park on Main Street, and a tree was placed in it for the celebration. A few years later, the number of loved ones being honored had grown to the point where another tree was needed to hold the bows. The celebration now includes two evergreen trees, one in the gazebo and one beside it. What began as a cocoa and cookie reception has now become a buffet supper at the Trillium Lodge, located across the street from the Memorial Park, followed by a Christmas Carol Sing.

This year’s celebration in the gazebo was led by Nancy Hall, who welcomed everyone to a celebration, “of remembering loved ones that we have lost,” and thanked everyone for attending. Hall then led the group in prayer and the singing of the traditional closing song, “Silent Night.”

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