When certain tragedies occur, people tend to remember exactly where they were at the very moment they learned of the news. People can recall precise details, about moments in history such as when JFK was assassinated, when they learned of Elvis’ passing, or where they were when they discovered that the World Trade Center’s had been attacked on September 11th.
On September 1st, 2001, the Family Clinic of New Albany opened its doors for the first time. Gena Vail, who had been working for Dr. Ellis, saw a need for a primary care clinic in New Albany after he retired, and decided to open the first nurse practitioner owned clinic in Union County. Eleven days later, a tragedy devastated our nation. People all over the world witnessed the World Trade Center’s collapse, and were united in their grief for our nation and the lives lost.
As Christmas approached, Gena decided to use the Christmas tree in the clinic as a tribute. Decorations of red, white, and blue were used to give the tree a patriotic theme. She displayed beautiful glass ornaments on the tree, on which a proud, waving American flag was painted, and the words, “God Bless America,” inscribed. As the years passed after that infamous day, each Christmas, the tree continued to be decorated in similar fashion, adding new ornaments and décor, but keeping the original ornaments on display as well.
Today, almost 17 years later, the tradition of the patriotic Christmas tree continues. Time has passed, and though the towers have been rebuilt, the memory remains, and the Family Clinic of New Albany’s small memorial serves as a reminder to never forget. Our nation was hurt on that day, but out of the ashes, we arose stronger and more united than ever before. With their patriotic Christmas tree, this clinic honors those who lost their lives, and admire those service men and women who answered their call of duty when needed.
Brittany Clark, NPFamily Clinic of New Albany, New Albany MS, Patriotic Christmas tree