TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — Chill early evening temperatures made the hot chocolate the most popular drink at Travis’ Christmas Tree and Hanukkah Menorah Lighting ceremony Thursday.
The chill didn’t stop Anji Klein, the wife of Col. John Klein Jr., from doing the honors of lighting the base’s community Christmas tree as a representative of all those Travis service members who are deployed during the holiday season and the families that stay behind.
“It is a great community event at Travis,” Anji Klein said. “It really brings the people together.”
Col. Klein had been vice commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis before he was deployed to Southwest Asia to command the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing. Klein is one of about 500 Travis service members who are spending the holidays elsewhere in the world.
The 60th Air Mobility Wing Chapel hosted the 5 p.m. Christmas tree and Menorah lighting ceremony that traditionally helps Travis enter the holiday season.
Musicians from the Air Force Band of the Golden West were on hand to play holiday music. So was Santa Claus, who visited Travis children, arriving on a Travis Fire Department fire engine.
“We are celebrating the holiday season with all of the faiths and family traditions,” said Col. Robert Cannon, a base chaplain, who also asked those present at the celebration to “remember all those defending freedom around the world in your prayers.”
That included singing holiday songs, enjoying cookies and hot chocolate, having the children meet Santa to say what they would like for Christmas and the Travis tradition of putting up large holiday greeting cards created by Travis’ squadrons.
Tanya Pocaigue was one of those enjoying the evening gathering with her family. She said they have been coming to the event for the past four years.
“It is very nice,” Pocaigue said early in the festivities. “We are waiting for Santa to appear.”
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter,com/ithompsondr.