WASHINGTON - After a two-week, 3,460-mile journey, the Capitol Christmas Tree has arrived in the nation's capital on Monday.
This year's tree, a 79-foot Engelmann Spruce, departed from Kootenai National Forest in Montana on Nov. 13. It was driven across the country by truck for an annual tradition that dates back to 1964 when then-House Speaker John McCormack placed a Christmas tree on the U.S. Capitol lawn.
Every year since 1970, the Capitol Architect has asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide the Capitol Christmas Tree from a different national forest.
"The People's Tree" has been placed on the West End of the Capitol and the tree lighting ceremony will take place on Dec. 6. More than 12,500 ornaments will adorn the 15,000-pound tree.
Ridley Brandmayr, an 11-year-old boy from Montana who lost the fingers of his right hand in an accident that took place this summer, has been selected by Montana Sen. Jon Tester to light the tree during the outdoor ceremony.