This year we can all enjoy an Alaskan Christmas tree shining in DC. Friday night was the moment when the People’s Tree was lit up at the U.S. Capitol.
The tree came all the way from Alaska. Cut down since October from a national forest near Moose Pass, the Alaskan Christmas tree was brought through land and sea from almost 4,000 miles away to its final destination – the West Lawn at the Capitol Hill. Everything has been made possible only through private donations from different organizations and companies.
Many proud Alaskans came to the lightning ceremony, which was accompanied by cheerful music and joyful dancers. Alaska’s Congressional Delegation has also been present at the event, hosted by Paul Ryan – Speaker of the House and gave short speeches.
The main organizer of the event was Senator Lisa Murkowski. Together with her staff, she organized everything from choosing the tree to an essay contest for Alaskan children with the winner having the chance to light up the Christmas tree by flipping the switch.
The essay contest has been won by a fifth grader from Soldotna – Anna Devolld, who came with her whole family to the big event. She felt special and blessed for being given the chance to take part in something so big and important for people in her state but also for the whole nation.
Ever since 1970, the U.S. Forest Service has the task of choosing every year a different national forest to donate the People’s Tree. It is for the first time when a forest from Alaska has been chosen. The Chugach National Forest in the second larger of the national forests, with over 5 million acres covered with trees. It is also the westernmost and the northernmost national forest in the US.
The people’s tree has been carefully selected, as silviculturist Mandy Willwock wanted to make sure she gets the perfect tree. She asked for it to have a conical shape, had branches evenly disposed and be at least 65 feet tall. The final choice was a 90 year-old Lutz spruce, 74 foot tall, hybrid between Sitka and white spruce.
Once cut, on October 27, the tree has been transported with an 80-foot truck, having a 60-gallon bladder at its bottom, to make sure it stays hydrated during the long journey. Villwock has followed the truck through the country, stopping in various communities and giving speeches about the uniqueness of the tree and the following lightning ceremony – the tree’s final destination.
Image source: pixabay.com
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