The theme was “Imagine it’s Christmas.” Before and after the parade holiday music was provided by the United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Band—the replacement of the now-deactivated 98th Army Band.Newly elected Mayor Jayme Stayton rode side-by-side with the grand marshal for the parade, the “mayor” of Fort Rucker—Garrison Commander Col. Shannon Miller. The crowds clapped loudly as the mayor and grand marshal passed down North Daleville Avenue.Children and adults were happy as the Daleville High School Marching “Pride of the South” band, led by Drum Maj. Grace Lim, marched passed playing Christmas music and as festive floats and vehicles passed by.Immediately following the parade, Mayor Stayton welcomed the crowd of citizens of Daleville, Fort Rucker and surrounding areas before introducing Col. Miller who then flipped the switch, lighting the traditional city Christmas tree in front of Daleville High School.Attendees were then invited to travel a half-block down the street to the Billy Atkins Recreation Center where Santa Claus also went for hot cocoa, cookies and crafts.
Hundreds enjoyed the annual Fort Rucker Tree Lighting Ceremony Dec. 1 and the Daleville Chamber of Commerce’s annual parade Dec. 2.Last Thursday, military and civilian families gathered in the late afternoon chilled air on Howze Field at Fort Rucker. Promptly at 5 p.m. the sound of the bugle playing the "Retreat" song began as it does at the end of each workday on post and the crowd grew silent as young and old alike placed their right hand over their hearts or, if military, saluted, and turned toward the flagpole to watch the American flag be slowly lowered. Then, the festive activities to kick-off the Christmas season began.The United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Band—the replacement of the now deactivated 98th Army Band—provided a selection of holiday music before and during the event.Children from post Girl Scout troops, the Post Chapel Choir and students from the post’s Child Development Center sang numerous Christmas carols as the crowd sang along.Garrison Commander Shannon Miller gave a brief holiday greeting before the commanding general, Maj. Gen. William Gayler announced the winners of the tree ornament decorating contest. Each winner received a Sgt. Ted E. Bear trophy and a packaged gift.The event culminated with Maj. Gen. Gayler, with the assistance of the three-to-four year old group winner, James-Thomas Wathen, flipping the switch to light the huge southern cedar adorned with thousands of lights and Santa Claus’ arrival on a fire engine.