Wisconsin National Guard Decorates Executive Residence for Holiday

Wisconsin National Guard volunteers joined Linda Hughes to continue a state tradition last week by decorating the Tribute to Our Troops tree at the Executive Residence. The tradition honoring fallen and deployed troops has endured since 2005, a year that saw many Wisconsin service members killed in action in the Global War on Terror. Jessica Doyle, then Wisconsin’s first lady, came up with the idea and asked Hughes – whose nephew Joshua was killed in Iraq earlier that year – to create ornaments for the tree. The tradition has continued through the Doyle and Walker administrations. Hughes said she chose this year’s theme of dreamcatchers because the unbroken circle of the dreamcatcher matches the unbroken love in the families’ hearts, though their service member is no longer there. She also incorporated a gold star, the symbol for the families of fallen service members, into the webbing of the dreamcatcher. Each ornament Hughes makes has a “dog tag” representing a fallen Wisconsin service member, and she sends the ornaments to their families after the holiday season. In the letter accompanying each ornament, Hughes has written the following wish: “Wake up every morning with a new dream for the day.”

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