Borough Hall tree lighting includes solemn moments

December 18, 2014 Jaime DeJesus
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Borough President Eric Adams hosted Borough Hall’s annual Christmas tree lighting on Monday, December 15. It was Adams’ first tree lighting as borough president and attendees enjoyed musical performances by the Noel Pointer Foundation and Opera on Tap before watching the 20-foot Douglas fir light up the borough. Adams also invited a child, nine-year-old Paloma Kirk, up to help light the tree.

“One of the greatest holiday traditions that Brooklyn has, one that we can trace back decades, is the lighting of Borough Hall’s Christmas tree,” said Adams. “It brings Brooklynites and tourists great joy to come to Downtown Brooklyn and see the plaza aglow with the colors of the season. I encourage everyone to visit the tree and make it part of their own holiday tradition this year.”

However, the gathering wasn’t all about the holiday season. During the event, Adams memorialized both Eric Garner, who died on July 17, 2014 when a Staten Island police officer allegedly used a chokehold on him, while trying to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes, and the seven police officers who have died in the line of duty this year.

Once the tree was lit, the lights were temporarily turned off and a member of the Brooklyn United Marching Band struck a drum 11 times, once for each time Garner said “I can’t breathe” during the incident, followed by seven drumbeats to commemorate the fallen police officers.

Initially, Adams, a former NYPD captain, had planned for the Garner tribute. He added the tribute to the fallen officers after Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch requested that the drum be struck for each of the 80 NYPD members killed since 1999.
“As we come together this holiday season, sharing good tidings, we also are facing societal strife over public safety and criminal justice in our nation; our tree lighting needed to recognize this with a moment of reflection,” said Adams. “The darkening of the lights cannot be seen as a darkening of our spirit, but rather as an understanding that every innocent life is precious and in need of protection in our city, state, and nation.”

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Arthur de Gaeta
BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Arthur de Gaeta


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