Since 2019, Lynnwood resident Patrick Crosby has been honoring Gold Star families and military veterans who were killed in action with a Christmas tree memorial on his front yard at 6406 208th St. S.W. In previous events, families and individuals had submitted photos, cards and letters to him which were then adorned on the tree.
This year, Crosby had set up a second Christmas tree memorial – called “the mourning tree” – at 17804 44th Ave. W. in Lynnwood to honor families who have lost someone to drug and alcohol addiction.
Like the Gold Star tree, people who are interested in having their loved ones honored on the mourning tree can submit a 3×5-inch photo to Crosby at his home or email him the photo with the same dimensions. He then prints, laminates and displays the photos on the tree. He hopes to have at least 100 submissions this year.
Crosby also encourages the public to send greeting cards to the families or friends, which will be put on the tree. They may mail them to the 44th Avenue West address. At the end of the holiday season, Crosby will scan all the cards and distribute them to everyone who has participated.
“I’ve pondered on this for several years. I didn’t wanna do it because I knew how painful it’s gonna be,” he said. “The world is hurting really bad right now, and the more healing people can bring, the better. I know it’s going to hurt, but I know it’s going to help somebody.”
As the chairperson of the Northwest chapter of Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation, Crosby leads fundraisers and brings awareness of the hardships military veterans and their families experience. The nonprofit was founded by former UFC champion Randy Couture, who also served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant of the 101st Airborne.
It has become a beacon of support for many military communities, providing crucial assistance, such as financial aid to unexpected financial difficulties, keynote speaking for morale support and mental health consultations. The mourning tree is not associated with the G.I. Foundation.
The mourning tree-lighting ceremony will start on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m., and the Gold Star tree event will take place on Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. These public events will also have live caroling from Veterans for Worship, prayer, a Nativity scene, warm beverages and grief counseling, if requested.
Email photos to Patrick Crosby at email@example.com.
— Story and photos by Nick Ng