With the pull of a lever, the tree lit up and Fort McPherson ushered in the start of its final holiday season.

The tree-lighting ceremony, which took place Tuesday evening at The Commons at Fort McPherson, joins the list of Fort McPherson traditions that will never be seen again. However, although the significance of the larger circumstances surrounding the ceremony was not lost on those in attendance, the occasion was still enjoyed with cheer and spirit.

"I'm glad you have joined me as we continue our holiday tree tradition here at Fort McPherson," said Col. Deborah Grays, U.S. Army Garrison commander. "May the lighting of this Christmas tree encourage us all to embrace the mutual goodwill, understanding and respect for one another; pray it provides an opportunity to focus on what's important and remain resilient."

With carols sung by the Fort McPherson holiday choir, a word of thanks from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and a surprise visit from Santa Claus, those in attendance had plenty of reasons to follow Gray's advice.