Capitol Hill Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Congressional leaders celebrate the annual tradition that started in 1964.
3:00 | 12/03/13

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Transcript for Capitol Hill Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
To me. The -- a symbol of the contributions of our natural resources to our nation it connects all Americans -- national forest. The -- reminds all of us of the importance of public service and stewardship. And the restoration of national forest lands. Some fun facts about this beautiful in humans brace. It's 88 feet tall and 79. Years -- And it was blessed. Before it was harvested body elders -- -- cause they'll drop. The tree covered of a -- thousand miles to get here today. -- -- great partnerships. Most of the costs associated with the trade had been covered by private donations. And support from partners. Including the nonprofit she's outdoors this -- -- -- -- me -- By the Forest Service and its partners provide the tree is eternity anonymous and the smaller companion trees are guests from the state of Washington. You should see the beautiful tree I had a mile -- office. Thank you all for being here and happy holiday -- And thank you again to the -- donors and sponsors -- helped bring this trade to the front yard of -- national capital. The word that she's outdoors. And these partners accomplice. How to make this have truly remarkable advance thank you asked. Thank you so much -- Harden. As you noted industry has been on a tremendous journey in fact it traveled 5000 miles. Across the country from Washington State. And showed up here on the west front of the capitol just eight days ago where are dedicated capitol grounds crew. Commenced. Planting the tree and decorating it and didn't they do a fantastic job. Let me recognized -- back -- our superintendent of capitol grounds. Who had a very difficult task of selecting this street. Out of many beautiful trees found -- the -- national forest. Next ladies and gentlemen it's my honor to. Recognize members of the Washington State delegation. As you senior program representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers was scheduled to be with us this evening. But on just -- a little over a week ago she had her third child. And regrets not being able to be with us and I think we can forgive her for being a little preoccupied right now. So it's my pleasure to introduce congressman Doc Hastings. He's been serving the people -- Washington's fourth district. In the US House of Representatives since 1995. A member of the natural resources committee. He has a special interest in federal lands including national -- parks and monuments. Given his expertise I'm sure -- have some. Great things to say about this. Magnificent tree. Congressman Hastings. Thank you very much to Stephen and welcome to all of you here tonight is specially to. Those washingtonians that traveled from our Washington to this Washington to celebrate this. And I too want to take a moment to and gradually my friend and our colleague Cathy McMorris Rodgers I did speak to her this morning and she sends her regrets -- As you know she headed baby daughter a week ago. But this history here this tree is from -- history -- a matter of fact. Is not very far from the tell that she grew up in kettle falls -- this tree came from so unhappy for her husband Brian and we wish them of course all the best. This is a beautiful stunning tree it's over eighty feet tall. It perfectly reflects the people in the spirit of our great state of Washington. It's a state where people look out for their neighbors were -- communities come together. In -- appreciate and admire the great outdoors. I have the honor to not only represent the people of central Washington from the Oregon border to the Canadian border. But also to serve as chairman of the house natural resources committee. It's a committee that oversees. Activities on our federal lands. Including the forests where this particular tree came from. Seeing this amazing -- from Washington State. -- a reminder of how lucky we are to have such spectacular. National forests across our great land. But it also points to the importance. Of keeping our forests healthy. Our forests support thousands of American jobs and they help keep our air in our water clean. And they create countless opportunities for recreation. End of course supply families each each year with our beautiful Christmas trees. Washington State is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. Is part -- of who we are. I'm happy that through this treaty. We get to share a part of who we are with the rest of this country. I specifically want to recognize once again all the washingtonians. Who came together to make this possible. From those that helped cut the tree down. To transporting and yet the five thousands of miles that it came to come to this decimation. And to the children. Who made more than 500000. Ornaments or 5000 -- -- -- say to decorate the tree. Thank you all for your hard work. This year marks the 49 anniversary of the capitol Christmas tree. I can think of no better way of celebrating this event. -- with this magnificent angle and spruce from the call real national forests in the great state of Washington. Now it's my pleasure to represent my colleague. From Washington one of my colleagues from Washington Jim McDermott. Jim comes from a little bit different part of Washington. I'm almost sure he has no national force. The -- does had a constituents. That buy these Christmas trees from our national forest Jim McDermott. Thank you very much stock. When I came to Washington and -- unity. Tom Foley was a speaker and he said yes there's a -- the and natural resources committee that. Always has to be filled by somebody from Washington in your risk. So I started my whole career. Looking over the national forests and and make these beauties in the wonders of this country. -- want to thank you mr. Ayers for his. -- -- in making the capital. Really the whole of our democracy. Where everyone can come and see where it started. And it is a great day when Washington gets to pick its own tree as far as I know no one -- said yet but this is the tallest tree that has ever been here. -- 88 feet is the -- I think before that was 86. And so it's a good it's Memorial Day if you wish. The -- spells only -- while -- bless this tree before it was cut and we thank them for that. To begin a long journey 5000 miles all across the country. The Forest Service. Keeps these trees safe and works hard death bed. Making it a resource that not only is beautiful enjoyed by people in terms of walking in the forest. But also deals with the environment. The absorption of carbon dioxide by these trees is a part of our defense against global warming. It is a wonderful thing. That the Pacific northwest is blessed by this not much we did about we're just up there some people say god raises CL doesn't. He had -- in Seattle but we get trees like this. So it is there's always a blessing there's always a bright side to the clouds. And it is. An honored really to be able to share this piece of our country our state with you. Congress is earned a reputation. For not being able to play nice with one another. But ducks a Republican and -- Democrat. And this shows that it is possible to do something nice to get there. And it's pleasure working with. Our country. Is united and many matters. And justice and freedom. Caring first seniors. Giving our children a better future Christmas is really. About children. It's about a new child that came into the world and change the world. And it is a symbol and a model. For what we hold our children will get. That they will learn to preserve the things that are great. And that the including the forest and they will learn to take care of their families. I hope this tree will remind us of Jesus call to feed the hungry to welcome the stranger. To clothed the naked and -- take care of the sick. I hope it will inspire us to see each other with love and charity. To be grateful to our country and those who worked to make it great. Like the father of the tree later mr. Gainer. Who was so wounded serving our country and all the other veterans who put their lives on the line to this country. It's a true either reminds us of that and as he lights the tree with the speaker. You will. Should think about that. We thank him for his sacrifice that -- for the service of all those. Who have helped to make this country great and a -- children who serve our poor who feed -- hungry and -- counsel lost. We are lucky to live in this country. And we have an obligation to strive to make it better -- the values of Christmas. -- the values not only of Washington State but of America. Thank you for letting us share this piece of our state review. For allowing us to represented what this holiday means to our country -- to keep alive. The hold. OP senators. And goodwill toward men. Thank you so much congressman McDermott. Now let me introduce to you -- busters to my left. They'll be singing one of my favorites it's the most wonderful time of year note busters. -- -- -- -- -- -- clusters that was fabulous thank you so much. Now it's my great pleasure to introduce. The speaker of the house. John Boehner has served the people love the eighth district of Ohio in congress since 1990s. And -- January 2011. Became the 53. Speaker of the House of Representatives. He carries on the tradition begun in 1964. Lighting this capitol Christmas tree right here on the west front of the capitol. Ladies and gentlemen the honorable John Boehner. -- and John mind good evening and welcome. -- United States capitol. -- -- evolved bill Architect of the Capitol Stephen errors in his his team -- big congratulations for a job well done. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Historical society that dot. There their presence -- tonight and slowly -- -- go to Forest Service. Four about the job but that they've done. Now let me say to love two the young people who -- great job a lot better than a fire -- -- It all -- Padilla got this all inspiring dome and you look -- had a nice guy act valued overwhelmed. Perhaps just as those humble shepherds were among the angels appeared before them. Now the middle of nowhere they must've wondered what -- what -- is going wrong. They're not the Angel said for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy. -- and so you. Born this day in the city of David a savior which is Christ the lord. -- office jumpers went to find in the Manger in -- before the bottom parliament. God's light and love for each of us. This may be an old story but still a mighty one to grasp. It -- great faith takes -- patients. Much like the search for the perfect president self. Slowly with governor recognizes. Not so much about the telling of the story is this it is about the serving. Of the story. -- what emerges. There's a spirit of giving and a message of hope for all seasons. Glory to god in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill toward men. That in the words of a great philosopher. Is what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown. So -- It's time to -- the -- so we can all go back -- side before her one gets too cold. This. Year. Our special trade lighting expert is a first grader at homestead -- school in -- will Washington. -- -- -- Escorted by the US capitol police chief Kim -- Please join me -- walk -- main. Geovany Gainer. So Jim body may not know this bubbly. Require all of -- tree lighters to have some special qualifications. Now -- I understood it W wrote -- want to be a police officer. Well the chief tonight. We're talking and that's okay review we'd like to make funeral will. -- capital -- junior capitol police officer for today. -- -- The deal put the duck. The bad John and now -- official. So you money. Got the -- -- got the badge. Jim finally here is the switch right here. The truth none of the other in another role other mobile not yet you're not news the other night. 5432. Long. It. Yeah. Isn't the -- beautiful ladies and gentlemen. Well let me thank you for coming and joining us tonight. And joining speaker Boehner the Washington State congressional delegation the -- service. The terrific marine band. And all of us for this year's tree lighting. Ceremony thank you Merry Christmas and have a good evening.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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