Photo by Ron Edmonds, Associated Press
A tree toppled at our house last night. It lay still and dormant, its branches no longer full of happy congregations. This isn't back at the Kretman home in a Washington suburb, but at the house I work at for NBC News --- the White House. The tree -- a 140-year-old American Elm with a history that goes back into the 19th century -- survived rain, snow and political winds nearly all the way back to Abraham Lincoln. Limbs from its likeness appear on the back of the $20 bill.
Today, U.S. National Park Service employees busily performed the last acts -- cutting off branches and the trunk, lugging them away in big dump trucks. It was sad to see the end of a living piece of American history -- a reminder that there is no immortality in Washington, D.C., especially at the White House.