Capitol & Union Station Tree Lightings (photos)

Ryan Shuster, a senior at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs, pushes the button to light the tree. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) looks on. Shuster is an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Malet
Ryan Shuster, a senior at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs, pushes the button to light the tree. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) looks on. Shuster is an Eagle Scout.

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony took place on the West Front Lawn on Tuesday December 4. In 1964, House Speaker John W. McCormack suggested to J. George Stewart, Architect of the Capitol, that a Christmas tree be placed on the Capitol Grounds. The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service has provided the trees since 1970. This year's tree is a 73-foot Engelmann Spruce from the White River National Forest, near Meeker, Colorado. The tree was decorated with thousands of ornaments handcrafted by the people of Colorado. The tree will be lit from nightfall until 11:00 PM each evening through December 26. The tree arrived and was erected on the Capitolg grounds on November 26 after completing a 5500 mile journey. The lead truck was piloted by former United States senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Ryan Shuster, a senior at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs, pushed the button to light the tree.

The Norwegian Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Union Station was also held on Tuesday, December 4th. True to tradition, the Royal Norwegian Embassy gave a Christmas tree to the people of Washington, D.C. as a symbol of friendship between the United States and Norway. It also expresses Norway’s gratitude for assistance received from the United States during and after World War II. The Children's Chorus of Washington performed. Due to damage to the building from the August 2011 earthquake, Union Station is currently under construction and seasonal decorations are limited. The Norwegian Christmas tree could not be erected inside the station this year, so the lighting ceremony was held outside the West Hall, on the porch facing 1st Street by the west exit of the Union Station Metro station.

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