Honoring a holiday tradition that dates back several years, the Fort Bragg and surrounding communities gathered for the annual lighting of the Fort Bragg Christmas Tree during a ceremony at the Main Post Parade Field December 1.

"I think this event is great," said Spc. John Bell, 659th Maintenance Co., 82nd Sustainment Brigade. "It's really important to bring all the Families together and have a sense of unity especially during the holiday season."

Prior to the tree lighting, the 2011 Fort Bragg Family of the Year was announced at a ceremony at the Main Post Chapel.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Stevenson, who is currently deployed with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade to Afghanistan, and wife Keri along with their two children Baylee and Madison were recognized as the family who demonstrated the most strength, character, service and commitment, not only to their Family, but to their unit and community as well.

"I am so humbled for receiving this award," Keri said. "There are so many more deserving Families that I know of out there."

Shortly after receiving the award, the Stevenson Family made their way to the Main Post Parade Field where they assisted in the lighting of the tree.

Besides the lighting of the tree, the Fort Bragg community also recognized Hanukah with the lighting of the Menorah.

Additionally, a visit from Santa Claus, who arrived on a fire truck accompanied by Mrs. Claus, a performance by the Bowley Bobcat Singers and the FORSCOM Army Ground Band helped fill the night with fun entertainment for all.

"My favorite part is Santa and everything!" Logan Bell, 4, cheered. "I told Santa I wanted a toy motorcycle with a remote control."

As for his parents, they said seeing Logan's reaction to the night's festivities was their favorite part of the evening.

"The best part was seeing his reaction to Santa because he got really excited this year," Bell said.

All in all, the night was full of holiday cheer and fun while providing Families a place to go and celebrate with their community members as one giant Family.

"I think this would be a great place to go if my husband was deployed," Cheryl Bell said. "The reason I chose to live on post was because of things like this so if he deployed we would have somewhere to go, and we would have the support system of the community right here. I love seeing things like this available for us to attend."

Page last updated Mon December 5th, 2011 at 00:00