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Columbus AFB kicks off holiday celebrations with ceremony, parade

Santa Claus and three of his elves exit a T-1A Jayhawk, Dec. 4, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Santa then hopped on a fire truck and led a walking parade to the BLAZE Chapel where members of Team BLAZE lit the base‘s Christmas tree and the third candle on the Menorah. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Santa Claus and three of his elves exit a T-1A Jayhawk, Dec. 4, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Santa then hopped on a fire truck and led a walking parade to the BLAZE Chapel where members of Team BLAZE lit the base‘s Christmas tree and the third candle on the Menorah. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Chaplain (Capt.) Timme Henson, 14th Flying Training wing chaplain, introduces the 14th FTW commander and welcomes Team BLAZE during the base tree lighting Dec. 4, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Team BLAZE lit the tree and the third light of the base menorah to begin the holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Chaplain (Capt.) Timme Henson, 14th Flying Training wing chaplain, introduces the 14th FTW commander and welcomes Team BLAZE during the base tree lighting Dec. 4, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Team BLAZE lit the tree and the third light of the base menorah to begin the holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing Commander, accompanied by her son Ryan and Chaplain (Capt.) Timmie Henson, 14th Flying Training Wing chaplain, speaks at the Base Christmas Tree Lighting Dec. 4, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Weeks spent the time highlighting the importance of connecting between Airmen, civilians and families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing Commander, accompanied by her son Ryan and Chaplain (Capt.) Timmie Henson, 14th Flying Training Wing chaplain, speaks at the Base Christmas Tree Lighting Dec. 4, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Weeks spent the time highlighting the importance of connecting between Airmen, civilians and families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Family members of a deployed Airman from Columbus Air Force Base lit the tree during the Base Christmas Tree Lighting, Dec. 4, 2018, at the BLAZE Chapel here. After the lighting, children had the opportunity to have their photo taken with Santa in the Kaye Auditorium. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Family members of a deployed Airman from Columbus Air Force Base lit the tree during the Base Christmas Tree Lighting, Dec. 4, 2018, at the BLAZE Chapel here. After the lighting, children had the opportunity to have their photo taken with Santa in the Kaye Auditorium. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Team BLAZE members serve cookies to attendees during the Base Christmas Tree Lighting Dec. 4, 2018, at the BLAZE Chapel on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Cookies and drinks were provided by various base organizations, and the Caledonia High School Choir performed Christmas carols during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Team BLAZE members serve cookies to attendees during the Base Christmas Tree Lighting Dec. 4, 2018, at the BLAZE Chapel on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Cookies and drinks were provided by various base organizations, and the Caledonia High School Choir performed Christmas carols during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The BLAZE Chapel held a Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony, Dec. 4, here.

After arriving on a T-1A Jayhawk at Columbus AFB’s Red Carpet, Santa Claus led a parade from the 14th Operations Support Squadron Base Operations BLAZE Chapel for the Holiday Lighting Ceremony.

Team BLAZE members congregated at the Chapel to light the Base’s Christmas tree, as well as, lighting the third candle to commemorate the third night of Hanukkah.

Earlier this week, Columbus AFB held a Menorah lighting at the Chapel with the congregation from Temple B’nai Israel in Columbus, Mississippi, to officially celebrate the first day of Hanukkah.

Once everyone gathered around the tree, the Caledonia High School Choir performed Christmas carols as a way to connect with the local communities.

Afterwards, Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, spoke to the people in attendance.

“This time of year provides amazing opportunities to invest our time connecting with others,” Weeks stated. “I encourage you to invest with your kids and your family. Invest your time with your friends and your wingmen. Take advantage of every spare moment as it’s a gift.”

One of Weeks’ priorities for the base is connecting. She spent this time highlighting the importance of connecting between Airmen, civilians and families.

“As we celebrate together, we hold in our hearts the men and women of Team BLAZE who are positioned around the world, contending for freedom and liberty,” Weeks stated. “They are fighting for democracy, freedom, and supporting our nation and its national defense.”

Following Weeks’ remarks, family members of deployed Airmen from Columbus AFB lit the tree and the Menorah.

After the lighting, children had the opportunity to have their photo taken with Santa in the Kaye Auditorium. Cookies and drinks were also provided by various base organizations.