U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Christopher Norrie, commander of 7th Army Training Command, and Command Sgt. Maj. Franklin Velez, senior enlisted advisor for 7 ATC, help plant an oak tree with community members outside the 7 ATC headquarters, Tower Barracks, Grafenwhoehr, Germany, Oct. 8, 2019. The Oak tree is the national tree for both Germany and the United States and stands for the symbiotic relationship between the local and military communities. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Stewart)


Story by Sgt. Christopher Stewart, 7th Army Training Command


GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Leaders of the 7th Army Training Command partnered with the German forest service, known as the “Bundesforst,” and other community members to plant an oak tree outside of 7 ATC’s headquarters, Tower Barracks, Grafenwoehr, Germany, Oct. 8, 2019.


The ceremony represented community togetherness and unity while the tree itself represented more.


“The best day to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best day is today,” said Col. Timothy Davis, the Operations Officer for 7 ATC. “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”


Everyone who walks into the 7 ATC headquarters will have the opportunity to pass by the newly planted tree.


“This is a symbol of courage and strength that will remind us every time we pass by, of the things that we have in the community; our brothers and sisters in arms, our partners and allies,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Maracle, the chaplain for 7 ATC.


The Bundesforst donated the oak tree to 7 ATC, and then multiple leaders from 7 ATC and the community worked together to plant it in the traffic circle.


Among those who took turns shoveling were Brig. Gen. Christopher Norrie, commander for 7 ATC; Command Sgt. Maj. Franklin Velez, the senior enlisted advisor for 7 ATC; Col. Adam Boyd, commander for U. S. Army Garrison Bavaria; Lt. Col. Donald Cherry, the executive officer of 41st Field Artillery Brigade; Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel Zoker, senior enlisted advisor for 41 FAB; Hans-Martin Schertl, the mayor of Vilseck; Anita Stauber, the deputy mayor of Grafenwoehr; Ulrich Maushake, the German forest director, “Leitender Forstdirektor”; and Kevin Quarles, Training Support Activity Europe director.


“It is such a powerful symbol of strength and knowledge,” said Davis. “Communities coming together, nations coming together.”


View the rest of the images here.

Categories: Environmental News