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U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, a Gift from the People, Headed Toward Washington, D.C.

The 88-foot Engelmann spruce selected as the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree is hoisted onto a flatbed truck, where it will be secured for the 5,000-mile journey across the country. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

The 88-foot Engelmann spruce selected as the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree is hoisted onto a flatbed truck, where it will be secured for the 5,000-mile journey across the country. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

More than 300 people gathered on in 25-degree weather to witness the harvesting of the 88-foot 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree from the Colville National Forest, the first step in its 5,000 mile journey from Washington State to the U. S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

More than a dozen spotters and equipment operators manipulated the tree into position as the Mack Truck pushed the trailer underneath. The enormity of the Engelmann spruce became apparent as the tree floated above the trailer while a few extra feet from the trunk had to be removed.

Every December, the Speaker of the House hosts a lighting ceremony on the U.S. Capitol grounds. With a simple flip of a switch roughly 10,000 lights bring the tree to life. But first it has to make the journey.

The progression of the tree across the country may be tracked on the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree website, on their Facebook page and @CapitolTree2013 on Twitter.

The Washington State tour dates will include Colville and Spokane, Nov. 5; Republic and Wenatchee, Nov. 6; Everett and Olympia, Nov. 8; Vancouver and Kennewick, Nov. 9.

Ornaments decorated by students at an after school program in Omak, Wash., will be used on the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree. (Photo courtesy U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree)

Ornaments decorated by students at an after school program in Omak, Wash., will be used on the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree. (Photo courtesy U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree)

The rest of the tour will begin with a stop Nov. 10 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. That stop will be followed by appearances in Ogden, Utah, Nov. 11; Spanish Fork, Utah, Nov. 12; St. George, Utah, Nov. 13; Sedona and Flagstaff, Ariz., Nov. 14; Albuquerque, N.M., Nov. 15; Amarillo, Texas, Nov. 18; Dallas, Nov. 18; Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 19; Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 20; Knoxville, Tenn., Nov. 21; Roanoke, Va., Nov. 22; Hagerstown, Md., Nov. 23; and Allentown, Penn., Nov. 23.

The tree will arrive Nov. 24 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. After a night’s rest, the tree will be paraded into Washington, D.C., on Nov. 25.

Every year the U.S. Forest Service plays an integral role in providing the tree, dubbed the “People’s Tree” because it comes from public land. The cost of moving the tree, providing ornaments and hosting various events is covered by a non-profit organization dedicated to the event. Forest Service employees provide support as part of their duties.

The 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is a gift from the people, and the commemorative ornaments are the result of a partnership between Columbia Cedar Inc. and Colville, Wash., High School. Columbia Cedar provided the wood, and the engraving class at the high school made the ornaments, which are sold by local merchants in northeast Washington State and at Capitol Christmas Tree events. (Photo courtesy U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree)

The 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is a gift from the people, and the commemorative ornaments are the result of a partnership between Columbia Cedar Inc. and Colville, Wash., High School. Columbia Cedar provided the wood, and the engraving class at the high school made the ornaments, which are sold by local merchants in northeast Washington State and at Capitol Christmas Tree events. (Photo courtesy U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree)

13 Responses to “U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, a Gift from the People, Headed Toward Washington, D.C.”

  1. Paul Dore says:

    Glad to see it is “CHRISTmas” Tree…

  2. Fred says:

    And how much is this journey costing the taxpayers?

  3. Jose says:

    I wonder what happens with the tree after the Holidays. Can someone tell me?

  4. Barry O. says:

    Sure it will eventually be chipped and shredded so that treasury can print up more money to prop up the dollar and economy where the U.S. federal govt.(specifically the DEMS) does not know the meaning of budgeting or to spend only what is taken in. Our National Debt is $17 trillion and counting.

  5. MarliB says:

    The cost of moving the tree, providing ornaments and hosting various events is covered by a non-profit organization dedicated to the event. Forest Service employees provide support as part of their duties.

    Read the article…..

  6. Michael523 says:

    Every year the U.S. Forest Service plays an integral role in providing the tree, dubbed the “People’s Tree” because it comes from public land. The cost of moving the tree, providing ornaments and hosting various events is covered by a non-profit organization dedicated to the event. Forest Service employees provide support as part of their duties.

    Proof that you can’t believe everything you read. The non-profit organization is The U.S. Forest Service a branch of the Federal Government who is supported by taxpayers just like every other branch of the Federal Government. But, maybe the Forest Service found room in their 2014 budget to do this just like the Secret Service found room in theirs to re-open the White House guided tours — just in time for Christmas. WOW! What a coincidence!

  7. Rebecca [USDA Moderator] says:

    Thanks for your comments everyone. No tax dollars are to be used for this event. The Forest Service receives donations and have major corporate sponsors for this event. (Some FS employees’ salaries, of course, remain in the equation, but all expenses for lodging, meals, etc. while traveling with the tree is picked up by the corporate sponsor.)

  8. jody says:

    As an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe I am thrilled that this “peoples tree” is going to be decorated with native decorations and attributing American Indian heritage to this years National Christmas Tree! Bravo!!

  9. Deanna says:

    How negative people are in this world, I for one am very happy that the US Forest Service does this for the people of the United States. As a Yakama Nation Native I am sorry to have missed the tree coming through our Valley. My grandkids were able to appreciate this piece of history. Thank you for sharing. Tis the Season!

  10. Nichole says:

    I am very honored that the people’s tree is coming out of the beautiful Pacific Northwest! I also think it is really cool that the local schools have a special opportunity to provide handmade ornaments to decorate the national tree. What an honor for all of those kiddos! They are so proud of their ornaments. So bah humbug to you if you are worried about any cost out of YOUR pocket! It is nice to see something positive in the spotlight for a change and we all need that this season. Merry Christmas!!!

  11. Bill says:

    The People’s Tree just arrived today at Spanish Fork City Park. It has created quite a stir. We are excited for the celebration tonight where we participate in a once in a lifetime historic event for our little town. Safe travels mighty Spruce!

  12. Matthew Blair says:

    What is the cost for harvesting and transporting the tree to DC? Who is covering the cost?

  13. GREG BURKART says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

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