A special tree was on display at the Atlantis this holiday season.  Gold Star Families - those that have lost loved ones in combat - decorated it with pictures of the men and women that will always be in their hearts.

"This three is to honor all the fallen in Nevada since 9-11," said Dawn Forbus with Honor Flight Nevada.  "There are 60 pictures on this tree."

And for these families, decorating it started a new holiday tradition.

"It was all new to us; a lot of us were crying the whole time because we didn't know what to expect," said Sally Wiley, a Gold Star Mom.  "Then, when they read all the names and said 'killed in action,  killed in action,' it was very hard.  Especially since I took that picture of him the last time I saw him alive. 

Her son, Staff Sergeant Sean Diamond, was killed in action in 2009.

"He was killed in Iraq on his third tour in 2009 by an IED," Wiley said.  "He was going to be 41 in two weeks.  He was older because he went out from the Reserves to help out the engineers."

This time of year is always tough.

"The worst is the day he was killed, and then his birthday," Wiley said.  "Then Christmas and Thanksgiving."

But this year, he didn't seem so far away.

"It's just been the most wonderful comforting thing to have," Wiley said.  "Because I was here at the Atlantis over Christmas and I just had coffee and came down and sat and talked to Sean all the time.  It feels like he's here instead of gone."