tv Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony CSPAN December 25, 2014 10:44am-11:08am EST
and other lawmakers participated in the capitol christmas tree lighting ceremony earlier this month. this year's tree is an 88-foot white spruce from minnesota. this is about 20 minutes. >> and in keeping with tradition, the speaker of the house, the honorable john boehner, will extend his holiday greetings to you and officially light this remarkable tree in just a few moments. before we get to that big
moment, i want to welcome members of congress and distinguished guests. our capitol hill neighbors and those who are visiting our nation's capitol today. thank you for joining us on this cold and wet evening. i'd especially like to acknowledge members of the minnesota delegation in attendance tonight, including senators amy klobuchar, al franken and congressman rick nolan. [applause] now this incredible tree has been beautifully decorated with thousands of handmade ornaments, crafted by children and others in minnesota communities as a gift from the land of 10,000 lakes. [applause] and speaking of ornaments, each year, the u.s. capitol historical society presents a stunning ornament to place upon the tree. this year's ornament features a classic capitol design crafted from the marble steps that used to be on the east front of the capitol.
at this time, i'd like to introduce a former member of congress and president of the capitol historical society, mr. ron thersen. >> stephen, thank you very much. mr. speaker, members of congress. let me add my thanks to this event, this wonderful event, this 88-foot christmas tree, which is absolutely beautiful. and to have the privilege, as president of the u.s. capitol historical society, of adding our annual ornament to the tree with the thousands of ornaments that have been created by the children of minnesota. so, mr. ayers, i would like to present to you this ornament and please ask you to get it on the tree. it's made from marble that came from the capitol. it was removed when the steps were removed on the east front of the house side of the building in 1990. and so thank you very much. >> thank you so much. >> all right, sir.
[applause] >> thank you so much, ron. for more than 40 years, the u.s. forest service and the architect of the capitol have partnered to bring a christmas tree to the capitol from one of our nation's national forests. i'd like to specifically thank all of the dedicated forest service staff, both here in washington and in minnesota, who have helped make this event possible. it's quite an undertaking. and we are always so appreciative of your hard work. in particular, we'd all like to say thank you to beverly carol, who will be retiring after 39 years with the forest service. and beverly has been a part of the capitol christmas tree tradition for 20 years. and we wish you all the best, beverly! let's give them all a round of applause. [applause]
joining us tonight is the honorable robert bonnie, representing the department of agriculture. he has a holiday message to share with all of you this evening. mr. bonnie? >> it's an honor to be here today, to represent the u.s. department of agriculture and the u.s. forest service. 50 years ago, speaker of the house john mccormick began the tradition of the capitol christmas tree to celebrate the season and share a little holiday spirit. the capitol christmas tree, which annually hails from one of our national forests, is a good reminder to all of us of the importance of conserving our forests and our national resources. the tree is also an example of the american can-do spirit. each year, hundreds of volunteers contribute thousands of hours to help transport to tree from one of our national forests to the capitol.
this year's tree comes from the chippewa national forest, established by theodore roosevelt as the first national forest east of the mississippi. the forest is at the headwaters of the river. it contains 400,000 acres of wetlands and lakes and provides habitat for sandhill cranes and the largest breeding population of bald eagles in the lower 48. the forest has also been home to native americans for thousands of years and contains outstanding cultural resources. that makes today's celebration even more important, because the lake band of ojibwe has played a critical role in partnering with the forest service to bring the tree here. indeed, i'm told there are members of the band here today who are here as children in 1992, when a tree from the chippewa national forest was last selected as the capitol christmas tree.
other partners like choose outdoors have also contributed to the long journey the tree has taken. partners like these are vital for all the work we do on the national forest, whether it's conserving and restoring our forest's ecosystems or providing recreational opportunities to millions of people. so let's celebrate this partnership and this tree. merry christmas and happy holidays! [applause] >> thank you, mr. bonnie. this tree has been on a tremendous journey. in fact, it's traveled more than 2,000 miles across the country from minnesota. and just a mere 12 days ago, this white spruce arrived here on the west front, where our dedicated team of capitol grounds crew went to work decorating it. and this is the final tree, the final of 34 trees for george rawlings. george, you will be missed as well. didn't the grounds crew do a fantastic job? [applause]
and an special shout-out to their leader, ted, the superintendent of capitol grounds, who had the tough task of selecting just one tree from the many amazing trees found in chippewa national forest. next, ladies and gentlemen, it's my honor to bring up members of the minnesota delegation to offer their remarks. i have the honor of introducing senator amy klobuchar, who became the first woman elected to represent the state of minnesota in the united states senate in 2006. she serves on the senate committee on agriculture, nutrition and forestry, which has jurisdiction over forestry policy and she was at the chippewa national forest to oversee the harvesting of this magnificent tree. senator klobuchar? [applause]
>> thank you. well, hello, everyone. it is so great to see you here. we're so proud of this tree from the state of minnesota. where in the words of our unofficial poet laureate, garrison keillor, a state where the women are strong, right? the men are good-looking, right, franken? and all the trees are above average. and this tree is 88 feet above average. we're very proud of it. and also we have our delegation here, congressman nolan, as you know. you'll hear from him. congresswoman bachmann, congressman walls. i know if they're not here already, congressman ellison and congressman klein are also very proud of this tree. and thank you, speaker boehner, for being here in the midst. and also, i notice that another leader on the democratic side, hoyer, is also with us today. i'd like to thank our brave
ten-year-old boy aaron for being here. we're very excited to have you light up this tree for us tonight. it is so fitting that our state is providing this huge christmas tree from the forest in minnesota. you should know that ojibwe is also home to a huge statue of paul bunyan and babe the blue ox. here's a fun fact. it would also take more than four paul bunyan statues to reach the star on that tree. as was noted, i was there at the beginning, when this tree was cut by minnesota's logger of the year, who is a really big guy. i wanted to do it myself, but he took over. this tree then traveled 2,000 miles from the chippewa national forest. and i was at some of the events in minnesota. i was astounded by the thousands of school kids that would turn out just to see this tree. with all the cynicism, we can have sometimes in washington, it makes you realize that the people of this country and the
children of this country still care that their tree from their state, one tree in the whole country, is going to be standing in front of this capitol building. from the foresters and the conservationist and the loggers who work together every day to maintain the health, beauty and productivity of our forest this tree has come. my grandfather was a miner. when the mine closed down, he was a logger. so i know how hard it can be. but it was all the kids who worked on the ornaments, it was the tribal members' songs and prayers that blessed this tree as it went on its journey. by sharing this not-so-small piece of minnesota here, we're letting everyone know about the natural beauty and cultural richness found in our state. we're letting everyone know why we need them to come to minnesota and experience it for themselves. i'd like to thank everyone who made this possible. we are so proud to have a
minnesota tree in front of the united states capitol. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much, senator klobuchar. and now, ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce senator al franken, who has been serving the people of minnesota since 2009. senator franken? >> thank you. well, thank you for being here, everyone. it's a big honor to have this year's tree from the chippewa national forest, in minnesota. and from the leach lake band of the ojibwe. now, we minnesotans do not like to brag. but our tree is 88 feet tall, tied for the second-largest capitol christmas tree ever, only a foot shorter than the tallest. okay. so second largest doesn't sound
much like a brag, but in minnesota, home of hubert humphrey and walter mondale, being second is a brag. 88 feet. [laughter] do you know how many years it takes to grow an 88-foot-tall tree? neither do i. [laughter] but i'm sure it took a very long time. what you don't see here are the 70 other trees that were brought from minnesota to washington, d.c., along with this huge one. they're smaller trees. and those trees are scattered throughout offices around the city, including one in my office. and also, minnesota children made 10,000 ornaments to decorate all these trees, because we are the land of 10,000 lakes.
actually, we have 11,842 lakes. but that doesn't have the same ring as 10,000 lakes, so we're the land of 10,000 lakes. thus the 10,000 ornaments. one of the very popular ornaments that these children made is called a dream catcher. you may see one, it is circular, it has knitting in there. they are part of ojibwe legend. they are believed to protect you by catching the bad dreams and thoughts are letting only positive thoughts come true. i think that is a good sentiment for the holidays these and, don't you? yes, you do.
[applause] today, as we like the tree, let us only be filled with positive thoughts and with the joy and love of the season. senator klobuchar and i, we represent the entire state of minnesota. this tree comes from the eighth congressional district. it is wonderfully represented by congressman rick nall. he can lay claim to it as well. although to a lesser extent. here we have him, are great congressman. [applause] >> on behalf of the minnesota delegation, i want to welcome all of you to this wonderfully warm afternoon. and evening.
believe it or not it was an 80 degree difference change in temperature from the time we left minnesota yesterday and got year today. -- got here today. what a wonderful tree this is. i want to thank the forest service, chairwoman cari jones, of the chippewa nation. thank you for nurturing this tree and the wonderful celebration have created for the harvesting of this tree. what is wonderful about this tree, many things, but with its 10,000 ornaments and lighting that you will be able to seek -- to see from outer space once it is lit up, what is really wonderful about it is it is right in the middle of the
ol, and there is nothing partisan about it. there are no democratic, republican parts of that tree. even though there are branches going out to the left and to the right, and everything in between. what is magnificent about it is that it reminds us all that we are one nation, one people. joined together in a common cause, in a common message to the world about the importance of love, peace, liberty, and freedom. what a great honor it is to be able to provide this tree at this time. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much. now it is my great privilege to introduce the speaker of the house, john boehner.
speaker boehner has served the people of the eighth district of ohio since 1990. in january, 2011, he became the 53rd speaker of the house. he carries on the tradition of lighting the u.s. capitol christmas tree. ladies and gentlemen, the honorable john boehner. [applause] >> thank you. let me thank all of you are here tonight. thank you to everyone involved in making this evening happen. from the team, to the forest service, to the people of minnesota, and to the thousands of students who maybe decorations. this tree truly embodies the christmas spirit. tonight, just as our dome is in a season of restoration, we are
here to begin one of our own. the theme was much humbler the first christmas, but it is to these simple men that the angel suddenly appears announcing that on to you is born this day in the city of david the savior, christ the lord. shepherds don't just rejoice at this gift. they catch a glimpse of it for themselves. let us now go to bethlehem they say, and see what has come to pass. they share their good tidings with the world. that is what makes christmas so magical. a time to rediscover for ourselves the glory of god's love. to see the fresh eyes of traditions, and hope and goodwill to all, just as the lights on the tree shine together to overcome the darkness.
on the behalf of my family, and the people's house, i wish a happy christmas to all of you, and to all a good night. we have now reached that moment you've all been waiting for. to go back inside. [laughter] to help us like the tree this year we have a special guest from just up the road in maryland. he and his family are here from the help of the make-a-wish foundation. he will be spending christmas in new york. we have asked him to come down here and help us kick off the holiday season. ladies and gentlemen, join me in giving a warm welcome to aaron urban. [applause] >> are you ready? let's start. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!