NEWS | Dec. 4, 2020

JBAB Goes Virtual for Annual Tree Lighting

By Master Sgt. Mandi Harper 11th Wing Public Affairs

As with everything in 2020, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling’s Tree Lighting Ceremony was a little different this year. Even amidst the challenges of current COVID-19 restrictions, the 11th Wing was still able to share its holiday spirit with a virtual offering.
 
As a tribute to military tradition, those in attendance stood reverently as retreat sounded to signify the end of the work day. After a brief moment of silence, the stillness was broken by festive music performed by the Ceremonial Brass Quintet from The United States Air Force Band.
 
Capt. Wesley Sneed, 11th Wing chaplain, offered a prayer and blessing of hope to our community of many faiths. Following the invocation, Col. Mike “Goose” Zuhlsdorf, 11th Wing commander, welcomed special guests, including his family and Maj. Gen. Ricky Rupp, Air Force District of Washington commander.
 
“Tonight we are not just lighting a holiday tree,” said Zuhlsdorf. “We are igniting a light to help us navigate through the last remnants of a difficult year nearly gone by and, even more so, we are lighting a beacon of hope for a better year to come.”
 
He closed with the sentiment of positivity we all need to hear more often.
 
“Your light is beautiful,” said Zulhsdorf. “Your light is important. In case you haven’t heard these words recently: You are doing a great job.”
 
Finally, after Santa’s arrival and a dramatic countdown, the brand new 24-foot majestic pine tree was lit with 11,400 LED bulbs, and adorned with a stunning 3-foot star containing an additional 1,500 LED bulbs.
 
Fun fact: though the tree has nearly 13,000 lights, the energy required to keep it lit is only about as much as your household coffee maker.
 
While the socially distanced guests stood in awe of the absolutely dazzling tree, the Brass Quintet closed the evening with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
 
The virtual event was recorded live at the JBAB front marquee on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. The full ceremony can be viewed on the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Facebook page.