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Thanksgiving service at Ely Cathedral

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Scott Wakefield
  • Air Force News, Detachment 4
Chaplains from Royal Air Force Mildenhall set up a night of giving thanks at the historical Cathedral of Ely, which was built in 673 A.D. Although Thanksgiving wasn't celebrated until almost 950 years after the cathedral was built, the end of World War II gave the allies common ground to be thankful.

"United States Army Air Force flyers often used Ely Cathedral as a landmark when they were returning from missions." said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Moore from RAF Mildenhall. He said this made the cathedral a logical location for the celebration to be held.

The Thanksgiving service at Ely Cathedral dates back to World War II when local English people welcomed hundreds of American Airmen to join them for special service of thanks. The service has been conducted every year since then.

This year's festivities were kicked off by the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Five Star Brass Band, playing a variety of pre-service music. The service itself contained scripture readings by the chaplains from RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath, while the RAF Mildenhall combined choir performed musical responses.

Ely Cathedral's Reverend Canon, Dr. Alan Hargrave, welcomed the crowd and said that Thanksgiving is an occasion everyone should celebrate.

Chaplain (Col.) Carl Andrews, the USAFE command chaplain, provided this year's Thanksgiving message, which re-enforced Dr. Hargrave's welcome message, but added "all of us, regardless of our faith identity or our spiritual journey, need to give thanks for what gives us meaning in life."

(Editors note: additional information courtesy 48th Public Affairs office.)