The Ramstein chapel community kicked off the holiday season with the lighting of the official Ramstein Christmas tree Nov. 28 on the traffic circle outside the Northside Chapel.
The annual tree lighting is a chance for leaders from both Ramstein Air Base and the town of Ramstein-Miesenbach to affirm the ever-growing partnership between the two communities, said Capt. Matthew Streett, 86th Airlift Wing chaplain.
“We are one community, Americans and Germans, who value each other,” Streett said. “Through our presence here, through our role in NATO and through a shared vision of freedom, justice and security, we can only complement each other by continuing to strengthen what’s already strong.”
The tree was donated by the city of Ramstein-Miesenbach in 2010 to the air base. It was planted on the center of the traffic circle, which connects Kisling Memorial Drive and Lincoln Boulevard.
Local community leaders and officials from the base attended the ceremony, which was presided by Brig. Gen. Richard G. Moore Jr., 86th Airlift Wing commander.
The event began with a musical program where attendees sang traditional carols. The attendees and distinguished guests then headed out to the tree lighting portion of the event.
After the tree lighting, Santa Claus visited the crowd to pass out candy to children. However, instead of coming in with a sleigh and nine reindeer, he arrived in a shiny red firetruck.
Shortly afterward, the crowd made their way to the officers’ club for warm drinks and snacks.
The tree represents the solidarity and symbiotic relationship between the two communities, said Streett.
“It’s a living, growing thing, and it will slowly grow stronger if you actively care for it,” Streett said. “Our local bond with the German people is a vital one, and it’s strengthened every day by thousands of positive interactions that our forces have with their German landlords, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances.”
Just like the tree, Streett hopes the partnership between the two Ramstein communities will continue to grow and flourish for many more years to come.