• Col. Robert M. Waltemeyer, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, sings Christmas carols along with neighborhood locals in front of Kosei Hospital shortly after the tree lighting ceremony Friday at Sagami General Depot.

    Holiday cheer lights up U.S. Army Japan

    Col. Robert M. Waltemeyer, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, sings Christmas carols along with neighborhood locals in front of Kosei Hospital shortly after the tree lighting ceremony Friday at Sagami General Depot.

  • Sgt. Maj. Alan Zaboski, retiring sergeant major of the USARJ 296th Army Band, reads a Christmas story to children during the holiday concert Nov. 29 at Camp Zama's Music & Theater Workshop

    Holiday cheer lights up U.S. Army Japan

    Sgt. Maj. Alan Zaboski, retiring sergeant major of the USARJ 296th Army Band, reads a Christmas story to children during the holiday concert Nov. 29 at Camp Zama's Music & Theater Workshop

Lights, carols and you guessed it - good ol' St. Nick were part of the festivities Friday during the annual tree lighting ceremony at Sagami General Depot.

More than 150 Depot community members, distinguished guests, officials from Sagamihara City and students from Koyo Elementary School watched as a string of colorful lights brightened a large 20-ft. tree near Depot's front gate.

"This is a very good event for the local community and residents of Sagami Depot," said Lt. Col. Donald Cecconi, commander of the 35th Combat Sustainment & Supply Battalion of U.S. Army Japan. "It's an opportunity to share American culture with the Japanese community."

After lighting the tree, attendants sang Christmas carols to patients at the nearby Sagami Kosei Hospital. Kanemi Yukino, a 92-year-old patient supported by a wheel chair, came to the hospital entrance to listen to the carollers and observe the tree. She simply smiled when a hospital staff member asked her if she liked the Christmas tree.

"I think the view of the lit Christmas tree will relax and entertain many patients here," said Yukino Yamamoto, a Kosei Hospital administrative specialist. "We appreciate it very much."

Camp Zama also held a tree lighting ceremony Nov. 29, which included a holiday concert by members of the USARJ band. The tree lighting ceremony at Sagamihara Family Housing Area was held Nov. 30.

"We all should count our blessings and enjoy the holiday season," said Maj. Tyler Stewart, a 35th CSS Bn. operation officer. "Even though we are not with all the family and friends, we are closer than lots of our bretheren that are deployed."

Page last updated Wed December 13th, 2006 at 10:36