MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
The Christmas season at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point began with the annual Christmas tree lighting in front of the Marine Corps Exchange Dec. 4.
In its 14th year, the tree lighting brought Marines, sailors and their families together to mark the start of the holiday season with a showing of “Frosty the Snowman,” refreshments and an appearance by Saint Nicholas.
“This is a great way to start the holiday season,” said Col. Chris Pappas III, commanding officer of Cherry Point. “We are going to have a lot of fun this holiday season and it’s all thanks to the families and communities of Cherry Point for being so supportive.”
Pappas joined the daughters of Gunnery Sgt. Jeffery D. Bean, the maintenance control chief with Marine Attack Squadron 231, in lighting the Christmas tree. Pappas and the two girls counted down from 10 before flipping the switch to light up the tree.
“It’s kind of an honor for my family to be able to participate in lighting the tree,” said Bean. “I also think it’s great that they put something like this together for the families to take part in.”
According to Bean, he is cherishing spending time with his family this year because he was unable to be home last Christmas.
“This year it’s different because he was not around this time last year,” said Bean’s wife, Melissa. “Him being back makes the season more special this year.”
The tree lighting is important to families of Cherry Point, especially families with forward deployed Marines and sailors, because it brings them together during the holidays, said Cassandra Tucker, wife of Gunnery Sgt. Lonnie Tucker, an electronic intelligence intercept operator analyst with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2.
“With events like this, it brings families together so they have a support system since many families are going through the same thing,” said Tucker.
Bringing families together and being around those who care is why the holiday season is important, said Tucker.
“During the holiday season it’s important to bring families together,” said Tucker. “If you bring everyone together like this, it lifts their spirits.”