JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. –
Service members and families from across the installation came together to see the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree for the last stop on its journey and to be a part of a night of celebration at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Nov. 17, 2022.
Its final destination is Washington, D.C. For more than 50 years, a different national forest has provided a tree to light up the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building for the holiday season. The North Carolina Forest Service brought the 2022 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Pisgah Forest.
The 78-foot-tall Red Spruce, nicknamed “Ruby,” was harvested in the Pisgah National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina on Nov. 2 and prepared for the nearly 1,000-mile expedition. The journey includes a series of outdoor community celebrations before being delivered to the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 18, where it will be decorated with handmade ornaments and tree skirts, specially created by North Carolinians.
During the Nov. 17 event, service members and families viewed the tree, signed well wishes on the truck banners, walked through an interactive display of the four national forests in North Carolina and learned about each of the forests’ ecosystems and employees, and participated in other family-friendly activities. Military families also had the opportunity to receive a donated North Carolina-grown Christmas Tree in celebration of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and the season of giving.
“It’s been an amazing journey stopping at many communities along the way,” said James Melonas, Forest Supervisor of the United States Department of Agriculture. “It’s just so cool to see the connection that people have to each other, to their public lands, and to the national forests.”
For the past 10 years, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree has made Joint Base Andrews its final stop before delivery to Washington, D.C. In addition to hosting this special event, service members assisted the Forest Service staff with unpackaging the tree after its long journey.
“Here at Joint Base Andrews, the connectedness within our community and our military family is what makes us special,” said Col. Todd Randolph, 316th Wing and installation commander. “With the Capitol Christmas tree bringing us all together, we start the holiday season by celebrating what has now become a tradition of our own.”