Osan community gathers for tree lighting
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Hundreds of service members and their families flooded the square in front of the base theater to sing carols and witness the lighting of the base Christmas tree during the annual ceremony, Dec. 4.
Performances of Christmas medleys by Osan children and members of the Republic of Korea air force choir, and an appearance from Santa Claus riding in on a fire engine made the day one to remember for service members and their families.
The tradition dates back more than 20 years, and is often hosted by the 51st Fighter Wing Chapel.
"This event is a great way to build camaraderie in the community and bring us closer together as a military family," said Staff Sgt. Brett Rush, 51st FW Chapel chaplain's assistant.
After Col. Brook Leonard, 51st Fighter Wing commander, encouraged everyone to take advantage of the season to celebrate teamwork, he and one representative from the Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and the ROK air force pulled the switch disguised as a giant candy cane to light up the tree.
Master Sgt. Afryea Clark, 7th Air Force base support plans manager, was among those chosen, and attended the event with her daughter, Genesis, 5.
"I thought it was great," Clark said. "We weren't able to come last year, so I'm so thankful we could come this year and be a part of it together. Genesis was excited to be there."
Candy canes, hot cocoa and cookies aside, Rush said the simple fact of celebrating the season together was well worth it.
"Being stationed overseas can be hard, especially for single service members," Rush said. "The Christmas tree lighting brings a little piece of home to Osan."