GRAFENWOEHR, Germany- Leaders of the 7th Army Training Command (7 ATC) partnered with the German forest service, (Bundesforst) and other community members planted an oak tree outside of 7 ATC's headquarters, Tower Barracks, Grafenwoehr, Germany, Oct. 8, 2019. The ceremony represented community togetherness and unity while the tree itself represented more.

"The best day to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best day is today," said Col. Timothy Davis, the G3 for 7 ATC. "The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit."

Everyone who walks into the 7 ATC headquarters will have the opportunity to pass by the newly planted tree.

"This is a symbol of courage and strength that will remind us every time we pass by, of the things that we have in the community; our brothers and sisters in arms, our partners and allies," said Lt. Col. Timothy Maracle, the chaplain for 7 ATC.

The Bundesforst donated the oak tree to 7 ATC; then multiple leaders from 7 ATC and the community worked together to plant it in the traffic circle.

Among those who took turns shoveling was Brig. Gen. Christopher Norrie, commander for 7 ATC; Command Sgt. Maj. Franklin Velez, the senior enlisted advisor for 7 ATC; Col. Adam Boyd, commander for U. S. Army Garrison-Bavaria; Lt. Col. Donald Cherry, the executive officer of 41st Field Artillery Brigade (41 FAB); Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel Zoker, senior enlisted advisor for 41 FAB; Hans-Martin Schertl, the mayor (Buergermeister) of Vilseck; Anita Stauber, the deputy mayor of Grafenwoehr; Ulrich Maushake, the German forest director (Leitender Forstdirekor); and Kevin Quarles, Training Support Activity Europe director.

"It is such a powerful symbol of strength and knowledge," said Davis. "Communities coming together, nations coming together."