Ramstein-Miesenbach donates future Christmas tree to Team Ramstein

by Tech. Sgt. Markus M. Maier
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In the spirit of the holidays, Brig. Gen. Mark C. Dillon, 86th Airlift Wing commander, and Klaus Layes, Ramstein-Miesenbach mayor, planted a tree during a ceremony on Ramstein Nov. 8.

For decades, the city of Ramstein-Miesenbach has donated a cut tree each year to the base for use as a Christmas tree. However, this year, a joint decision between base and city officials was made to plant a live tree, in the hope it will symbolize the  partnership between the two communities as the tree matures.

“I am delighted to be here today and accept this gift on behalf of the Ramstein Air Base community,” General Dillon said. “While today’s ceremony marks the continuation of a long-standing tradition, it also marks a new chapter in our friendship between this base and our neighbors in Ramstein-Miesenbach.”

The 40-inch Nordmann Fir, known for its slow growth, soft needles and longevity, was donated by the city of Ramstein-Miesenbach to eventually serve as the installation’s Christmas tree. It was planted in the center of the traffic circle connecting Kisling Memorial Drive and Lincoln Boulevard.

“For more years than anyone can remember, we have been blessed each Christmas season with a tree provided by our friends,” the general said. “This year, our friends have presented us with this living tree, which will stand here year-round as a symbol of the special relationship between Ramstein-Miesenbach and Ramstein Air Base.”

Since the Nordmann Fir has to be planted young to thrive, base officials plan to continue using cut trees over the next few years until this one is larger.

“This jointly planted tree will grow and prosper such as the partnership between our community and the air base has grown in the past decades and will hopefully continue to grow,” Mayor Layes said. “The tree will become bigger and bigger and will bring joy to the people when they look at it, in particular, during the Christmas season when it will shine brightly.”

The tree is not merely a symbol for friendship and solidarity: it also serves as symbol for life itself, he said.

“Trees are the basis for life on Earth,” Mayor Layes said. “They produce oxygen, clean the air, provide a good climate, provide shade, protect from erosion, provide energy and are themselves habitat for many animals. He who plants trees, plants confidence; he invests in the future, he thinks about the following generations. I wish that our grandchildren may still enjoy the sight of this tree.”