Each year, special people have been chosen to light Columbia County's Christmas tree.
The first tree-lighting was in 2001, just weeks after 9-11. The tree-lighters represented emergency services personnel in honor of those who gave their lives in attacks.
Last year, because the event fell on Pearl Harbor Day, the honorary tree lighter was Chaplain Col. Calvin Garner (retired), a survivor of the World War II attack.
This year the tree will be lit by Sheri Christine, wife of National Guard Capt. Bobby Christine.
Capt. Christine is Columbia County's assistant district attorney, and normally would occupy the corner office next to the county's Christmas tree. But these aren't normal times; Capt. Christine is serving in Iraq, and his wife will light the tree in his honor, and in honor of all who serve in the war.
Also lighting the tree will the Jessica Callan, Columbia County's Fair Queen. Her sister, Miss Augusta Danielle Callan, recently lit Augusta's tree. Jessica's presence is a reminder that Columbia County's tree-lighting precedes the Martinez Christmas Parade, which starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, 2003.
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