Seems like the coronavirus pandemic could not douse the festive spirits of Americans, who are thronging in large numbers to see the National Christmas Tree which is erected in front of the White House.
The 30-foot-tall tree, which is located in President's Park between the White House and the Washington Monument, was officially lit earlier this month. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump took part in the ceremony virtually. In addition to the lighting, several singers including Colton Dixon, Kellie Pickler and Jillian Cardarelli, gave musical performances. The tree is decorated with ornaments made by students from all over the United States.
The ceremony has been taking place annually since 1923 when the then First Lady, Grace Coolidge, allowed for the District of Columbia Public Schools to erect a tree on the Ellipse south of the White House.
Here’s a look at National Christmas Tree through the years –
Then-President Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas Tree in 1923. It was 48 foot tall.
In 1948, the lighting ceremony was different, as Harry S. Truman, who was at his home in Missouri, signaled for the lighting by remote control. In 1955, President Dwight David Eisenhower lit the Christmas tree using a gold telegraph key from his home in Pennsylvania. In 1963, the lighting ceremony was delayed by four days to await the end of the mourning period after the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
In 1981, Ronald Wilson Reagan remotely lit the tree from the East Room of the White House following an assassination attempt on him. In 1995, Bill Clinton and wife Hillary lit the living Colorado blue spruce from Pennsylvania which was decorated with 6,000 white, red, green, and blue lights.
In 2001, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, along with two children who were the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack lit the tree.
In 2015, President Barack Obama, wife Michelle Obama, and actress Reese Witherspoon lit the tree.