FORT CARSON, Colo. — Hundreds of Soldiers and Family members crowded into the William “Bill” Reed Special Events Center Dec. 2, 2022, to take part in the annual Fort Carson holiday tree lighting ceremony.
Members of the 4th Infantry Division Band brass quartet were among the first to arrive at the venue, and they set up their instruments in anticipation of playing holiday themed music for the joy, excitement and anticipation of the gathering crowd.
The ceremony was officiated by Maj. Gen. David M. Hodne, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, who was joined by Command Sgt. Maj. Adam Nash, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson.
Fort Carson leaders were greeted by Charles Dickens’ “Ebenezer Scrooge,” who served as the master of ceremonies for the event.
“It is time to kick off our program today; who’s excited?” Scrooge asked. “I’m so happy to be here and before I get started, I would like to recognize the 4th Infantry Division band for the lovely music they are playing. This is a collaboration of teamwork and community spirit and recognizes our common interest in each other and our freedoms. We want to recognize all our military Families, our Soldiers all people here. It is extremely important to recognize that all military are not here tonight as many are deployed around the world keeping our way of life sacred and preserved.”
The event was scheduled to be held outdoors, but the strong winds that blew into Colorado Springs caused the venue to change. However, it did little to dampen the spirits of everyone who was into the holiday spirit.
This year, there were plenty of holiday activities to take part in before the official ceremonies began with the commanding general’s opening remarks. During those remarks Hodne would quickly recognize the people in attendance and pay tribute to the members of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation who had to move all the vendors and activities indoors to the center with only 48 hours’ notice.
“I want to thank everyone who came here tonight. Before we begin, I would like to give a rousing round of applause to (DFMWR) who at the last minute moved this event from outdoors to indoors because of the winds we had to deal with,” said Hodne. “This is about reconnecting with everyone and reconnecting with our community and taking care of our Families during this holiday (season). Please keep those deployed in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season. I was just notified that Santa Claus was tracked flying across Cheyenne Mountain a few minutes ago, and I’m sure the kids are excited to see him. So, without further delay we are going to go about the business of lighting this Christmas tree.”
The center had plenty of activities and events for the patrons to participate in after the tree lighting took place. There were various vendors selling their merchandise, two reindeer that caught the attention of the many children in attendance and the chance to socialize in a good family friendly atmosphere. Jonathan Brainard and his wife and 1-year-old son were among the Soldiers and Family members taking part in the event. He said being there was fun for them, and it will always be a good family memory.
“My son just turned 1-year-old, and we thought it would be a good way to come out, meet and talk with people and take part in a good family friendly event. This will always be a good memory for us and something we can tell our son about as he grows up,” Brainard said.