MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama’s annual Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony took place Friday evening.
Arriving at the Alabama State Capitol, accompanied by a blue siren escort from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), an Eastern Red Cedar, donated by the Allen family of Fitzpatrick, Alabama, was harvested and delivered to the front steps by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) Monday afternoon.
As trees in years past have measured in at approximately 35 feet high, this year’s cedar boasts a towering height of 40 feet, earning it the recognition of being the largest displayed Christmas tree during the Ivey Administration.
Each year, upon the tree’s arrival, a team of ALDOT workers lock, even and center cut the tree before it is hoisted into its stand.
Throughout the week, ALDOT workers garnished the Bullock County evergreen with 38,000 lights, 67 stars representing Alabama’s 67 counties and handmade ornaments from the Garden Club of Alabama. Each handcrafted decoration reflects the theme of “Every Light a Prayer for Peace.”
Not only is this embellished Eastern Red Cedar defined as an outlier due to its height, but also because of its display of a luminous change that debuted during the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday.
Friday’s festivities included the 151st Army National Guard Band playing various musical selections. Gov. Kay Ivey, Montgomery First Baptist Church Senior Minister Rev. Mark Bethea and Commander and President of Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base Lieutenant General Andrea Tullos, among others, delivered remarks. The governor gave the countdown before she flipped the switch to light the official state Christmas tree.
“Growing up, Christmas was about coming together with your loved ones to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This time of year serves as a great reminder of the spirit of hope, joy, love and thankfulness that we should all exhibit in our day-to-day lives,” said Ivey. “With our freedoms protected by our service men and women and veterans, our safety provided to us by law enforcement and our days kept moving by our everyday heroes, like teachers and nurses, we truly have plenty to be thankful for this season.”