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NEWS | Dec. 5, 2017

Holiday tree lights up the night

By Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Children and adults alike gathered at Seay Plaza for the 62nd Annual Holiday Tree Lighting celebration at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Dec. 1, 2017.

Hosted each year at the beginning of December, the celebration brings U.S. service members and their families together to welcome the holiday season. 

To help the crowd feel the holiday spirit, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band filled the air with carols as holiday lights covered a helicopter, cargo truck and locomotive engine car. 

AudreeAna Johns, age seven, daughter of U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Johns, 221st Military Police Detachment military police officer, assisted Maj. Gen. Paul Benenati, TRADOC deputy chief of staff, and Col. Ralph Clayton III, 733rd Mission Support Group commander, to light up the holiday tree. 

Johns said lighting the tree was her favorite part of the celebration and she “wishes everyone a merry Christmas.” 

“We want to thank the Fort Eustis community for giving her the opportunity because this is just above and beyond special,” said Nikki Johns, AudreeAna’s mother. “It’s just such a wonderful opportunity for her.” 

The celebration also included a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, crafts and caroling by the Woodside High School choral students and the Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast.  

“As we approach the holiday season, this is the perfect time to stop, reflect on what you have and redirect your life,” said Benenati. “It’s time for family and friends. It’s time to give someone a call you haven’t talked to in a while. It’s time to give back and help others.” 

This event was just the start of the series of holiday celebrations throughout the month of December for JBLE. For those unable to attend the tree lighting ceremony at Fort Eustis, Langley’s Holiday Tree lighting celebration will be hosted at Dodd Circle at 6 p.m., Dec. 8. 

For more information about holiday events on JBLE, visit