BAUMHOLDER, Germany – The Baumholder Military community hosted its annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Rheinlander Community Center on Dec. 6 to usher in the holiday spirit.
Over 400 guests congregated at the celebration, enjoying music, Kinderpunch, hotdogs, and engaging conversations.
Bundled up in fur-lined coats, gloves, and scarves, both German and American visitors, including Baumholder District Mayor Bernd Alsfasser, listened attentively to Col. Reid Furman, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz.
"I cannot imagine a better way to begin the holiday season than coming together with friends and families to uphold this tradition," remarked Furman.
The event commenced with the traditional invocation given by Chaplain Lt. Col. Todd Cheney.
Following Furman's speech, Mayor Alsfasser expressed his belief that perhaps the most profound wish of all is for ‘peace’.
"If there was one especially positive thing about this year, it was realizing that together, we can endure these times. That's why my Christmas wish is for us—Germans and Americans—to carry this resilience into the new year. Let's strengthen everything that unites us," he emphasized.
Subsequently, Brig. Gen. Karen Monday-Gresham, Deputy Commanding General of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, conveyed holiday greetings on behalf of the 21st TSC.
The 1st graders of Baumholder Smith Elementary School delivered a magnificent singing performance, including three Christmas songs performed in both German and English.
The Master of Ceremonies then invited the choir and the audience to welcome Santa Claus. Amidst the "Here Comes Santa" tune, the siren of a fire truck sounded, captivating the audience, especially the children, who recognized the blue lights of the big red fire engine with Santa Claus seated in the truck.
After making their way through the crowd, Santa Claus and Furman, accompanied by three students from Smith Elementary School, led the countdown and flipped the electrical switch. The grand Christmas tree, adorned with lights and a star, shimmered in all its splendor!0
The USO provided hot dogs and beverages outside the Rheinlander Center, while inside, children had the chance to engage in Christmas crafts and take photos with Santa Claus.
As Santa departed, his voice echoed, saying, “A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz serves, supports, and secures the total force community enabling power projection for the European Theater.