Chris Botek and his parents, Francis and Margaret Botek, of Crystal Spring Tree Farm present first lady Laura Bush with the National Christmas Tree. The Botek's children and grandchildren are riding in the back of the cart with the tree. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
There is a rhythm in Washington as November slowly becomes December, and that rhythm is perpetuated by annual holiday events. Today at the White House a horse drawn wagon plodded up the northwest driveway and delivered for the Christmas season a 18 1/2 ft. Douglas fir that will sit in the White House Blue Room. Welcoming the wagon was first lady Laura Bush and White House staffers who will begin decorating the tree later today.
Similarly, the tree that will sit on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol was also delivered today, a half hour before the one for the White House -- not that there's any significance there. The Capitol tree, however -- is grander -- a 65-foot Douglas fir that was trucked in from the National Forest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. It comes complete with 10,000 lights and 3,000 ornaments.
And soon there will be a third tree -- supposedly the grandest of all -- the National Christmas Tree. It will be lit Dec. 7 on the Ellipse, south of the White House grounds. The president and the first lady will do the honors, illuminating the tree for this year's Pageant of Peace.
So in a city of monuments and memorials, every December brings holiday trees that embrace a common theme -- peace... a theme worth noting as 2006 draws to an end.