• A toy soldier and a child stand in front of the Christmas tree just after Friday's lighting.

    CHRISTMAS LIGHTING

    A toy soldier and a child stand in front of the Christmas tree just after Friday's lighting.

  • Ruth Hellman, 8, left, samples the refreshments in the Officers and Civilians Club.

    HOLIDAY GOODIES

    Ruth Hellman, 8, left, samples the refreshments in the Officers and Civilians Club.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- As Team Redstone wished Mackinzie and Mikayla McDonald a merry Christmas, the 12-year-old McDonald twins were hard at work making sure Soldiers overseas got the same holiday greetings.

Redstone Arsenal celebrated its annual tree lighting Dec. 2 at the Officers and Civilians Club. While the theme "Trees and Treats" and hard work of FMWR ensured there was plenty of holiday spirit to go around, the celebration also remembered Soldiers that are away from home this season.

"Let's all not forget all of those that are still deployed and say a prayer for them every night when you go to bed, because we've got to keep them in our prayers and in our hearts, and also the families that are back home over this holiday season," Redstone senior commander Maj. Gen. Jim Rogers said. "This is all about families and taking care of people."

Attendees wrote holiday messages and words of encouragement on chalkboards and posed with their greetings for pictures that will be posted on Team Redstone's Flickr page for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to see. From tidings of "Merry Christmas" to "Go Army," to the smiles on the faces of those that wrote them, wishes of comfort and joy will find their way to the battlefield this Christmas. Luminaries burned in memory of those Soldiers who lost their lives.

Rogers, with the help of plenty of excited children, lit the tree, marking the official opening of the holiday season on Redstone Arsenal. Pictures with Santa, cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus, holiday press-on tattoos, tile painting in Santa's Workshop, music by the Army Materiel Command's Four Star Jazz Orchestra, a scavenger hunt for some missing elves, and plenty of goodies, including a chocolate fountain, completed the annual celebration.

"This night is about community, this event is about community, and truly it's about you, to get together and fellowship together and celebrate this great season," Garrison commander Col. John Hamilton said.

Page last updated Fri December 9th, 2011 at 15:21