A Marine veteran in Colorado is honoring fallen servicemen and women through the Christmas display on his front lawn.

Ron Bates told CBS 4 that because he lives near Buckley Air Force Base, he initially wanted to post a sign saying "thank you" to pilots flying over.

He said that the idea for his elaborate Christmas display grew from there.

"Everybody tells me thank you for my service," the 82-year-old Aurora resident told the outlet. "I’m giving back."


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Bates' handmade display features military headstones, a Purple Heart and a fallen soldier statue.

He told CBS 4 that he created the display's pieces out of wood, painted them and then assembled them.

"I know it's different. It's not the typical Christmas -- Santa Clauses and snowmen and reindeer," he said. "But that's just the way I feel."


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