Holidays

Enchantment Delivered: U.S. Capitol Tree to be lit Wednesday

Lighting ceremony is planned Wednesday (Dec. 4) at the Capitol

By Dena Miller
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 12/2/19

After a 2,000 mile trek from the Questa Ranger District of the Carson National Forest to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building, the “People’s Tree” is scheduled to be lit today (Wednesday, Dec. 4) at 5:00 p.m. EST.

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Holidays

Enchantment Delivered: U.S. Capitol Tree to be lit Wednesday

Lighting ceremony is planned Wednesday (Dec. 4) at the Capitol

Posted

After a 2,000 mile trek from the Questa Ranger District of the Carson National Forest in New Mexico to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., the “People’s Tree” is scheduled to be lit today (Wednesday, Dec. 4) at 5:00 p.m. EST.

Since 1964 a tree has been harvested from public lands to grace the west lawn of the United States Capitol Building and, for the third time, the “People’s Tree” has come from New Mexico. But the 2019 tree is especially near and dear to us all, as it has made its way to Washington, D.C. from the Questa Ranger District of the Carson National Forest, thanks to the cooperative efforts of the Congressional delegation of U.S. Senator Tom Udall, the U.S. Forest Service, the non-profit organization Choose Outdoors, and the keen eye of the Architect of the Capitol.

The 60-foot tall, 21-foot wide blue spruce was felled early in the morning of Nov. 6 and, on Nov. 11, began its journey -  dubbed “Delivering Enchantment”  - by stopping at several local communities before visiting 30 more towns throughout New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia. It arrived in the nation’s capitol on Nov. 25.

AOC Jim Kaufmann said of the selection process, “We inspected trees of various species in a number of different [Carson National Forest] locations. None seemed to meet the criteria. A perfect tree from afar often showed flaws upon closer inspection: a forked or crooked trunk, thin branches or a shaded side with no branches. Then, we happened upon The One.”

“A blue spruce … growing in an open area appeared to be a flawless candidate. We got closer, and it appear[ed] to be in good health. We inspect[ed] the branches, needles and trunk structure. It [was] perfect.”

The  official U.S. Capitol Tree Lighting is scheduled for Wednesday (Dec. 4), to be hosted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, with New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham -  plus a very special guest in attendance. 

Choose Outdoors is planning to  livestream the event  on its  U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/USCapitolChristmasTree/ .

Asher Dean, a fourth grade student at Arroyos del Norte Elementary School in Arroyo Seco, was to join the Speaker, the Governor, and other members of Congress at the lighting, thanks to his state-wide contest winning essay on what the public lands of his home state means to him.

“I was so encouraged by the many wonderful essay submissions we received about the importance of New Mexico’s public lands and forests. Asher’s essay spoke so eloquently about the beauty he sees in New Mexico public lands,” Gov. Lujan Grisham noted in her press release of Asher’s winning entry.

New Mexico state forests also supplied smaller trees for offices within the capitol building and other locations throughout Washington, D. C. Over 10,000 handmade ornaments had also been collected throughout 2019, from schools to public events where citizens were encouraged to be creative and share some New Mexico love.

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