Chapel hosts tree lighting ceremony

by Airman 1st Class Ciara M. Travis
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

To celebrate the upcoming holidays, members of Team Ramstein participated in a tree lighting ceremony Tuesday at the Northside Chapel on Ramstein.

The ceremony was led by Brig. Gen. C.K. Hyde, 86th Airlift Wing commander, and Klaus Layes, City of Ramstein-Miesenbach mayor.

“This tree not only represents our common bonds and traditions, but it also represents the common values we share: freedom, respect for human dignity, the free exercise of religion, and the ability to worship according to the dictates of one’s own conscience,” Hyde said.

A plaque was unveiled during the ceremony that reads, “Ramstein Air Base Christmas Tree, donated by the city Ramstein-Miesenbach 2010.”

“This year, we’ve placed a plaque to represent the solidarity and the bond between our two communities,” Layes said. “Our tree represents the friendship between us. This tree has begun to prosper and it will continue to bring joy to people when they look at it illuminated.”

The tree, a Nordmann fir, symbolizes the partnership between the two communities as the tree matures. Known for its slow growth, soft needles and longevity, the tree was planted in the center of the traffic circle connecting Kisling Memorial Drive and Lincoln Boulevard.

The ceremony featured music and entertainment from the Ramstein High School Royal Chorus, Kaiserslautern Elementary School Honor Choir, Vogelweh Gospel Praise and Dance team, and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band.

“We are beginning a new tradition this year. Instead of using a cut tree, we are using the planted tree that was given to us last year by the citizens of Ramstein-Miesenbach,” Hyde said.

The tree was lit by the general and the mayor with a little help from Anya Watson, 4, daughter of deployed service member Senior Airman Cody Watson, 86th Communications Squadron.

After the lighting ceremony, Santa Claus made a surprise appearance on a fire truck — greeting everyone in attendance with his jolly manner and hugs.
Another tree lighting ceremony also took place on Vogelweh Military Complex, Wednesday.