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 tree, which is located
in President’s Park between the White House and the Washington Monument, was
officially lit earlier this month. President Joe Biden and first lady
Jill Biden took part in the ceremony virtually.
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 –
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
In 2015, President Barack Obama, wife Michelle Obama, and actress Reese Witherspoon lit the tree.