This morning the Capitol Christmas tree arrived on the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
The tree is an annual symbol of hope and celebration, so it is fitting that a truck driver who bears a striking resemblance to Old St. Nick, with a full white beard and smiling eyes, delivered it to the Capitol.
"I am honored to accept this year's Capitol Christmas tree on behalf of the U.S. Congress. I'd like to thank the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Congressional delegation for their support, those who helped get this beautiful tree to Washington, D.C., and the children, artists and community leaders who handcrafted the ornaments that will decorate the tree for all of us to enjoy," said Stephen T. Ayers, Architect of the Capitol (AOC).
This year the tree traveled more than 4,000 miles from the Chugach National Forest. It is the first tree to come from Alaska, the first tree to travel by sea and land to reach the nation's Capitol, and the first Lutz spruce selected for the Capitol Christmas tree.
U.S. Forest Service representative, Robert Westover said, "For 45 years the U.S. Forest Service has been honored to provide the Capitol Christmas trees, the People's Tree, from our national forests. But, no matter which forest the tree has or will come from, it's always wonderful to see the gift of the People's Tree twinkling with lights and handmade ornaments for the whole country to see."
The AOC Capitol Grounds team will spend the next several days decorating the tree – hanging thousands of LED lights and thousands of ornaments sent from Alaskan communities. The tree lighting will take place on Wednesday, December 2, at 5 p.m. As is the time-honored custom, a student will assist Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan light the tree. The tree lighting ceremony is open to the public and no tickets are required. The West Lawn will open at 4 p.m. for the event.