WASHINGTON D.C. (WVDN) — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), along with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and members of the West Virginia Congressional Delegation, hosted the annual lighting ceremony for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.
The tree, a 63-foot Norway Spruce, hails from the Monongahela National Forest in Randolph County, W.Va. The Monongahela National Forest was the first national forest to provide the People’s Tree on behalf of the Forest Service in 1970, and again in 1976.
“It is with great pride that we light a beautiful Norway Spruce from the Monongahela National Forest as this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. This is certainly an honor for West Virginia and a task that we were eager to lend a hand on, as the people of our great state do. West Virginia has unmatched natural splendor, and our communities and residents are strong. Both of those qualities are displayed in this year’s tree,” Senator Capito said. “I look forward to seeing this wonderful reminder of home, and sharing a gorgeous piece of our state with the rest of our nation this holiday season.”
“This year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas tree represents so much of what makes America great. It was cultivated and harvested from the Monongahela National Forest, set forth for viewing in an array of communities across the country, and is now displayed for all of America to see,” Speaker Johnson said. “We thank the great people of West Virginia for sharing a piece of their state’s abundant beauty with us in Washington.”
The first U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree ceremony dates back to 1964, with the U.S. Forest Service providing each tree since 1970. West Virginia has produced the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree twice before this year, in 1970 and 1976 respectively.
This year’s theme, Endlessly Wild & Wonderful, is a play on a motto commonly used in West Virginia — Wild & Wonderful West Virginia. The tree was named “wa’feem’tekwi” by the Shawnee Tribe and means Bright Star in Shawnee. The tree was harvested on November 1 and arrived at the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 17 where it was decorated with approximately 5,000 handcrafted ornaments made by the Shawnee Tribe and communities across West Virginia.
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit from sundown until 11 p.m. every day from Nov. 28 until Jan. 1. The tree is tentatively scheduled to be removed on Jan. 3, 2024.
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