Soldiers celebrate Easter in Romania

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Crawford, head of the Religious Support Team at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, speaks to the assembled worshippers during an Easter sunrise service at the Romanian Eastern Orthodox chapel at the base April 16. Service members had gathered for the early morning chance to worship together, sing hymns, and remember family and friends observing the holiday back in the U.S. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Zumer, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class John Zumer, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP MIHAIL KOGĂLNICEANU, Romania (April 17, 2017) – Being away from home on the holidays can be difficult for deployed service members, no matter how many times you may have already done it. For deployed service members at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, however, an Easter Sunday service at sunrise helped to retain a special link to loved ones far away.

The service, held in a newly refurbished Romanian Eastern Orthodox chapel on the base, was a unique experience for many not used to the religious décor often found in Eastern Europe churches. More importantly, it helped remind many present of the blessings they had in life, regardless of the miles or challenges faced.

For Staff Sgt. Eddie Couthen, a mechanic with the 742nd Service Maintenance Company and a native of Irmo, S.C., the day was a bittersweet one.

“It’s the first time away from my kids on Easter,” he said.

The service, planned and hosted by the Religious Support Team at MK Air Base, was a traditional liturgical Protestant celebration.

Staff Sgt. Carl Seim, who serves as an assistant to the base chaplain, was instrumental in helping to piece the music and message of the day together.

“I reached out to my pastor in the states for a sampling of Easter and Holy Week services,” added Seim.

Those in attendance, as evidenced by the spirited singing and fellowship present, were glad that he did, with the service proving to be a welcome reminder of friends and families far away.

Worshippers attending an early-morning Easter service listen to Staff Sgt. Carl Seim, center, an assistant to the base chaplain at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, as he delivers a special Easter prayer April 16. Service members had gathered for the early morning chance to worship together, sing hymns, and remember family and friends observing the Easter holiday back in the U.S. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Zumer, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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