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Transcript of Pelosi Remarks at U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined members of the North Carolina Congressional delegation and the Governor of North Carolina to light the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good evening, everyone.  It is the most wonderful time of the year with the beautiful music and lighting of Ruby tonight.  As Speaker of the House, it’s my honor to welcome all of you to the Capitol to participate in a proud patriotic tradition: the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree.  Thank you to Governor Roy Cooper – thank you, Governor, for being with us – and the North Carolina Delegation: Senator Burr – Senator Tillis I understand is here – and other Members of the Delegation, certainly Congressman McHenry and our distinguished Member of the House, David Price.  It is so appropriate that we are able to light this tree from North Carolina as one of his last gestures in Congress as he goes home.  Thank you, David.  


And thank you, Senator Burr, for recognizing that, last year, it was the California tree.  We were happy to hand it off to North Carolina.  Again, thanks to Randy Moore, the Forest Service Chief, and to Brett Blanton, the Architect of the Capitol, for making so much of this possible.  And for all of you who are responsible for carrying the tree here, for getting it here.  We are all in your debt.  

Let us applaud the United States Navy Ceremonial Band for their welcome.  Thank you all so much. 


And the Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel for blessing us with their beautiful music.  Thank you all so much.  


It is a thrill to be joined today by our youth tree lighter, Coche, a citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, as has been mentioned.  Coche Tiger’s winning essay shares a moving story from Cherokee heritage about the origin of the mighty evergreen trees.  After creating all plants and animals, our Creator asked them to fast, pray and stay awake for seven nights.  But at the end, only a few were awake.  The trees that stayed awake were rewarded with the ability to keep their leaves yearlong and with special healing powers.  It is a story of faith and gratitude – of hope enduring through the dark night.

And it is hope that we celebrate each holiday season – that through the cold and dark winter, spring will someday come.   That’s why, in a moment of dismay and discontent nearly six decades ago, Speaker McCormack had an idea to place here a national beacon of hope, comfort and joy.  And ever since, in times of war and peace, hardship and prosperity, the spectacular Capitol Christmas Tree has brought the American people together.  Each year, this cherished tradition unites Americans from all corners of the country.  From the communities it encounters as the tree travels from a national forest to the Capitol, to the families who make the pilgrimages here for the lighting of this dazzling tree, to all of those who made these beautiful ornaments.  It is a thrill today to be joined by our Youth Tree Lighter, Coche Tiger, a citizen, again as I said, of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.  

This year, the People’s Tree is 78 feet tall – red spruce from the picturesque Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.

This glorious tree is wonderfully decorated to reflect this year’s theme: ‘From the Mountains to the Sea.’  It calls to mind a timeless patriotic tune: ‘God Bless America.’

‘From the mountains, to the prairies

To the oceans white with foam

God bless America

My home sweet home’

Indeed, the People’s Tree embodies these lyrics – a symbol of our nation’s strengths of beauty, diversity and unity.  So this holiday season, as we behold this magnificent tree – it is magnificent, and its shining lights to come on now – let us summon our deep, patriotic spirit and join together as one.  

Now, I have the great honor of bringing forward Coche Tiger.  [Coche] has won the contest, the essay contest.  This is our VIP of the evening.


And to join me at the podium and to read your winning essay.  Coche, the stage is yours.  Let us welcome [Coche].


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