Photo Credit: Ed Damon

Photo Credit: Ed Damon

By Ed Damon, Bennington Banner

BENNINGTON — A tradition returned on Wednesday night as scores of people turned out for the community tree lighting at the Vermont Veterans' Home.

"Bennington's Home for the Holidays Celebration" was held on the front yard of the Veterans' Home. A musical performance and a visit from Santa Claus marked the annual Christmas tree lighting on the front yard of the home.

"This is our way to say thank you to Bennington County and people of Bennington," CEO Melissa Jackson said. "It's people like you who make life of veterans that much more special."Jackson also asked attendees to keep those in military service, who won't be home this holiday, in their thoughts.

It was a joint event by the Veterans' Home and the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce. Colonel Al Saxon, COO for the home, and Matt Harrington, chamber executive director, also made remarks.

After the ceremony, attendees were invited to walk along a lit path through the home's Deer Park and to an open house at the chamber's building.

The Mount Anthony Union High School choir, led by Choral Director Lynn Sweet, performed a selection of Christmas songs.

Chaplain Ken Coonradt led the tree blessing.

"We ask you to send Your blessing upon this tree which we have decorated in honor your Son's birth. Let it help us to celebrate this holy season as living branches of him, and bear the fruit of good works for your glory, this day and every day, both now and forever."

Efficiency Vermont sponsored the LED colored lights strung around the tree.