President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on Thursday evening, Dec. 5, took part in the annual Christmas tree lighting at the Ellipse in President’s Park—continuing the festive tradition that began more than 90 years ago with former President Calvin Coolidge.
The president thanked America’s armed forces and first responders on stage as he wished the nation a Merry Christmas.
At Christmas, we come together as a grateful Nation to celebrate eternal truths. pic.twitter.com/FoPSujPGYX
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 5, 2019
“Melania and I would like to wish you a very, very merry Christmas,” the president said to his guests.
“At Christmas we remember this eternal truth: Every person is a beloved child of God. As one grateful nation we praise the joy of family, the blessings of freedom and the miracle of Christmas. On behalf of Melania and our entire family, Merry Christmas and God bless you all,” President Trump said in brief remarks at the tree lighting.
Guests enjoyed performances from singers Jessie James Decker, Spensha Baker, Colton Dixon, and Chevel Shepherd, and a show from Max Impact, also known as “the premier rock band of the United States Air Force,” as well as the Tucson Arizona Boys’ Chorus, The United States Marine Band, and West Tennessee Youth Chorus, CBS reports.
A 30-foot Colorado blue spruce from Palmyra, Pennsylvania, starred the 2019 Christmas event—the first time ever the spruce has been lit. Last year, another Colorado spruce from Virginia was not lit as a man reportedly tried to climb the tree four days before Christmas and damaged the tree.
The decorations of the event consisted of 58 Christmas trees, over 15,000 bows and more than 2,500 strands of lights, the White House reported.
The National Christmas Tree at the Ellipse is surrounded by a walkway featuring 56 state and territory trees embellished with handmade decorations that is distinctive to each tree, the National Park Service said.
Christmas lights, according to CBS News, will light up every day at around 4:30pm and turn off at 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Lights will remain switched on through Jan. 1, 2020.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2019