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The story behind a large Memorial Day tribute in one Town of Tonawanda front lawn

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Posted at 3:35 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 18:36:51-04

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — On Memorial Day weekend, you can’t mistaken Jim Schaller’s house.

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“I’ve got all the services, all the branches including Space Force,” he explained of the types of flags on display in his front yard.

“There’s a lot of emotion when it comes to remembering those that died. There really is,” he added.

It’s part of a Memorial Day tribute in Schaller’s front yard in the Town of Tonawanda.

“I do it to honor those we’ve lost especially the ones I lost in Vietnam.”

Schaller served in the U.S. military and was stationed in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. He earned a Purple Heart after he was wounded during war.

Every Memorial Day weekend for the past several years, he’s been turning his front yard into a memorial for those who never came home.

Bill Wilson and his three grandchildren are some of the countless visitors who’ve stopped since Schaller put it up on Saturday.

“I want them to always remember, the freedom they have at school, what they wear, people have paid a price,” Wilson said.

The display was a labor of love. It took Schaller about two hours to put together. There’s dozens of American flags, pictures, statues, flowers, and stories on display.

“It’s a lot more than cooking hamburgers on the grill,” Schaller said when asked what Memorial Day means to him. “It’s our heroes day. I’m not a hero. The heroes are there,” he said.