The Richard Nixon Foundation honored Orange County’s heroes who lost their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam. The OC Register’s Scott Martindale reports:

One by one, the mothers and fathers stepped forward to receive a hug, a thank you and a Christmas ornament engraved with their child’s name on it.

As they cradled the symbol of remembrance, some shared words of gratitude for those who had come to reflect on their families’ sacrifices. Others saluted the Christmas tree before them, and one laid a kiss on the brass ornament itself.

Then, fighting back tears, these parents of fallen service members hung their personalized ornament on the boughs of the Hometown Heroes tree, a Christmas tree at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum honoring local service members who gave their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam.

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Photo: Claudio and Evelyn Patino of Yorba Linda, the parents of Marine Cpl. Claudio Patino IV, killed an action in Afghanistan in June 2010, hang an ornament in honor of their son on the Nixon Foundation’s Hometown Heroes Christmas Tree during ceremonies in the East Room last Sunday.