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Northern Lights Shine on Capitol Hill

Posted by Robert Westover, US Forest Service in Forestry
Feb 21, 2017
US Capitol Christmas Tree lighting up the West Lawn of Capitol Hill
US Capitol Christmas Tree lights up the West Lawn of Capitol Hill (Photo credit: Sherri Eng, US Forest Service)

When U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan asked Anna Devolld, a ten year old child from Alaska, to flip the switch, a momentary hush came across the crowd as thousands of lights on a massive tree illumined the West Lawn just below both Houses of Congress.

More than a year of planning went into the lighting of the first US Capitol Christmas Tree from Alaska. Hand crafted ornaments made by hundreds of children and other folks in Alaska now bask in the glow of thousands of lights on the 74 ft. Lutz spruce harvested from the US Forest Service’s Chugach National Forest.

Washington, D.C. has never seen anything like it and that’s not easy to say in a town that isn’t impressed by much.

It took a small army of Federal workers, private sector sponsors and volunteers from across the country to make this special tree’s 4000 mile journey possible across open sea and land. Thanks to their commitment the 2015 Capitol Christmas Tree has become a huge success story and brought joy to thousands in the towns it passed through all along the route across the nation.

It was truly a wonderful “Christmas moment” as evening fell on December 2, to see everyone united in their excitement to see Alaska’s gift to the nation brighten faces and hearts in the Capitol.

Category/Topic: Forestry

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Estelle Bowman
Dec 03, 2015

Can you please share or post Miss Anna Devolld's wining essay that Congressman Ryan referenced?

Robert Westover
Dec 07, 2015

Here's the link and a copy to Miss Anna Devolld's essay about this year's U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree:
“A Christmas tree from the Chugach National Forest is a special symbol of Alaska to the nation. The tree lights display the Aurora Borealis, shimmering across the heavens. Tinsel resembles the Alaskan glaciers that sparkle day and night. Ornaments represent the wild Alaskan creatures that dot the forests, sky, and seas. A tall, colorful Christmas tree mirrors the towering Alaskan mountains. Evergreen needles symbolize the Alaskan’s adventurous spirit that never fades. Strong spruce branches stand for Alaskan’s freedom that survives despite troubles. Alaskan Christmas trees are special because they are a symbol of Alaskan pride.”