The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, an 88-foot-tall white spruce from Minnesota, will shine brightly on the Capitol lawn in Washington D.C. for the holiday season. Politicians, dignitaries and guests – some of whom traveled from Minnesota – were on hand for the official lighting ceremony Tuesday evening.
The tree, from the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota, was cut down in October and made several stops in Minnesota and other cities along its 2,000-mile trek to Washington. It is decorated with thousands of ornaments made by Minnesota school children.
(You'll note in the photos that the Capitol Dome is surrounded by scaffolding; it's undergoing a multi-year restoration project to repair cracks and other signs of its 150-year-old age. Read more about the restoration here.)
House Speaker John Boehner presided over the ceremony along with Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, 8th District Rep. Rick Nolan and other members of the state's congressional delegation.
Also involved in the ceremony was a 10-year-old boy from Maryland who has brain cancer, and was there through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
"This tree is a fitting representation of the natural beauty, hard work, talent, and sense of community that make our state so special," said Klobuchar.
Members of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe traveled by bus from Minnesota to Washington, D.C. to attend the tree lighting and other events surrounding the ceremony. They will host a drum and dance ceremony in front of the tree later this week, according to Klobuchar's office.
Here are some more images from the ceremony.