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Lighting up the Vogelweh night

A program displays the lyrics to, “Silent Night” at Vogelweh Military Complex, Germany, Nov. 29, 2016. “Silent Night” was sung by attendees at the closing of the ceremony after the Christmas tree lights were illuminated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike)

A program displays the lyrics to, “Silent Night” at Vogelweh Military Complex, Germany, Nov. 29, 2016. “Silent Night” was sung by attendees at the closing of the ceremony after the Christmas tree lights were illuminated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike)

Members from Five Star Brass, a component of the United States Air Forces in Europe Band, play Christmas music at Vogelweh Military Complex, Germany, Nov. 29, 2016. Five Star Brass, played traditional Christmas music during the introduction of the ceremony as part of the program (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike)

Members from Five Star Brass, a component of the United States Air Forces in Europe Band, play Christmas music at Vogelweh Military Complex, Germany, Nov. 29, 2016. Five Star Brass, played traditional Christmas music during the introduction of the ceremony as part of the program (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike)

Brig. Gen. Richard G. Moore Jr., 86th Airlift Wing commander, and children from the Vogelweh community turn on the Christmas tree lights on Vogelweh Military Complex, Germany, Nov. 29, 2016. The tree lighting ceremony marked the beginning of the holiday season at Vogelweh. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike)

Brig. Gen. Richard G. Moore Jr., 86th Airlift Wing commander, and children from the Vogelweh community turn on the Christmas tree lights on Vogelweh Military Complex, Germany, Nov. 29, 2016. The tree lighting ceremony marked the beginning of the holiday season at Vogelweh. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike)

A Christmas Tree is displayed in the basement of Vogelweh chapel at Vogelweh Military Complex, Nov. 29, 2016. The tree was accompanied by a chair where Santa Claus sat with children asked what they wanted for Christmas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike)

A Christmas Tree is displayed in the basement of Vogelweh chapel at Vogelweh Military Complex, Nov. 29, 2016. The tree was accompanied by a chair where Santa Claus sat with children asked what they wanted for Christmas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Airmen, Soldiers, and their families gathered around the base Christmas tree at Vogelweh Military Complex, Germany, Nov. 29, 2016.

More than 40 members of the community came together to witness the lighting of the Vogelweh Christmas tree and observe the beginning of the holiday season on the installation.

“One of the amazing differences in regards to the tree lighting ceremony at Vogelweh this year is that it was the first public event held at the chapel since it had sustained extensive flood damage from a bad rainstorm,” said Capt. Matthew Streett, 86th Airlift Wing chaplain

Attendees walked up a staircase lined with Poinsettias and entered the sanctuary to a musical performance by Five Star Brass, a component of the United States Air Forces in Europe Band, followed by an invocation by Maj. Christopher Underwood, 86th AW chaplain.

After the invocation, more music, and a greeting by Col. Donnette Boyd, 86th AW chaplain, members transitioned outside to the tree in preparation for the lighting ceremony.

“The magic of the event was that it brought everyone together for conversation and fellowship, while experiencing an annual tradition,” said Streett. “These celebrations are still cherished by so many people today.”

Once the lights on the tree were lit and the crowd closed the ceremony by singing, “Silent Night,” the night was all but silent as Santa arrived on a fire truck to visit the families in attendance.

“It’s easy for Christmas to get swallowed up by material aspects that don’t reflect its actual heritage,” said Capt. Matthew Streett, 86th AW Chaplain. “That’s why events like (the tree lighting) are important, they remind us of values of generosity and humility that are bound within the (spiritual) side of Christmas.”