COLUMBIA — People of all ages gathered at the Holiday Inn Executive Center on Sunday night to view the Capitol Christmas tree on its way to Washington, D.C.
The 67-foot Engelmann spruce, cut on Nov. 6, was on its way from the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming to the United States Capitol grounds, said Justin Kaber, operations chief for the journey. Columbia was the midpoint between the previous stop, Britt, Iowa, and the next stop, Memphis, Tenn.
“I’m almost speechless,” said Wyoming native Trudy Olson as she saw the truck carrying the tree pull into the parking lot. “It makes me feel proud. I’m so glad I could see it.”
The tradition of cutting down a Capitol Christmas tree from a national forest began in 1970, according to CapitolChristmasTree.org, when a tree was taken from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. The very first tree to make the trip to the nation's capital, though, was a Douglas fir from Buddies Nurseries in Birdsboro, Pa.
This was the first year that a tree from Wyoming was chosen.
The tree, which already has colorful lights adorning it, will arrive in Washington on Nov. 29. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will light the tree Dec. 7.