Every year many in our nation participate in a tradition where we decorate a tree in our living room. For those feeling a bit patriotic or wanting to run the risk of tree envy, you will have just one chance (shy of traveling to the District of Columbia) to see our Nation's Capitol Christmas Tree, or “The People’s Tree.”
What began in 1964, when then-Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John W. McCormack (D-MA) placed a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn, has evolved to an updated reality that many who garden could have predicted. In this case, it became clear after a few years that big trees do not like to be transplanted. We now cut them down and deliver them fresh via our expressways.
Since then, a different national forest has been chosen each year as the source of the capitol's tree, and this year a tree selected from the Chippewa National Forest (very close to Michigan) will be stopping by our city for a special community ceremony being held along the banks of the Grand River in front of the Gerald R. Ford Museum.
Be sure to visit and join others in your city who will mark this occasion with a welcoming ceremony by Grand Rapids Public School Board President, Dr. Wendy Falb; a chance to sign the U.S. Capitol Tree Banner traveling with the tree; enjoy free admission to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, where you can make your own ornaments; and even help decorate the Gerald R. Ford Presidential tree while your kids enjoy one of 12 separate local community partners' holiday activities being offered.
The Chippewa National Forest is located in Minnesota, and the special tree is an 88-foot-tall white spruce. If it snows on this day as predicted, then this tree should feel right at home here.