MONS, Belgium – One of the oldest traditions for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) continued on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023 when the SHAPE community gathered in front of the headquarters for the 56th annual Malmedy Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.
Since 1967, when SHAPE relocated to Belgium, the community of Malmedy has generously gifted the headquarters with a fir tree for the holiday season.
“The tree from Malmedy is more than a festive decoration. It is a monument to the enduring bonds that unite us, not just as allies, but as a community,” said Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Christopher G. Cavoli.
We are expressing our wishes that peace – seemingly so uncertain today – might soon prevail and lastingly
“In times of change, traditions like these anchor us. They remind us of our shared struggles and triumphs,” Cavoli added.
Reflecting on history and the battle in the Ardennes, Malmedy Alderman André Denis stated, “For this reason, one presence here today on SHAPE takes on special, added importance, as we think of those who have helped us through difficult times, and as we think of the conflicts currently ongoing in the world.”
“We will light this tree in a few moments. As we do, we are expressing our wishes that peace – seemingly so uncertain today – might soon prevail and lastingly,” Denis said.
The Christmas tree will be illuminated in front of SHAPE every day until Jan. 2 from 8:00 to 9:00 and from dusk until 23:00. On Christmas Eve, the lights will remain on until dawn Christmas morning.