After completing a journey of more than 5,000 miles on the back of a MACK® Pinnacle™ model, the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree was lit in an official ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 3. The tree traveled from the Colville National Forest in the state of Washington to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol, making stops in communities across the country.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) led the ceremony and flipped the switch with the help of six-year old Giovanni Gayner to light this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree. The 88-foot Engelmann Spruce was hand-selected from a pool of candidate trees suggested by Colville National Forest employees by the U.S. Capitol Superintendent of Grounds Ted Bechtol.
Gayner is a student at Hofstetter School in Colville, Wash., and he also participated in making ornaments for the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree. Gayner’s name was drawn at random from the many children in Washington State who participated in this year’ ornament making. More than 6,000 ornaments adorn the tree.
The national event was made more festive by musical performances from the Notebusters Children’s Choir, the United States Marine Band and vocalist Lindsay Lawler.
The 80-year-old tree was delivered to the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 25 and was lowered by crane into place on the west lawn where it will delight passersby throughout the holiday season.
As a sponsor of the tree tour, Mack provided two Mack Pinnacle models for the cross-country tour. Both were distinctively decaled with the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree tour logo and patriotic images of a sturdy bulldog pulling a Christmas tree toward the U.S. Capitol. The trucks were equipped with the MACK mDRIVE® automated manual transmission and the MACK Twin Y™ air suspension, allowing drivers to have an easy and fuel-efficient drive. These features were crucial as the trucks navigated through snow, mountains, arid conditions, busy cities and deserted highways on their way to Washington, D.C.
“We greatly appreciate Mack Trucks’ support of the Capitol Christmas Tree tour,” said Jeff Olson, president of Choose Outdoors, the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service for this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree. “Knowing that we could count on Mack to deliver a very special cargo to our nation’s capital really helped make this project successful.”
Mack has provided trucks for the Capitol Christmas Tree tour several times, most recently in 2011 and 2012.
“Being a part of the Capitol Christmas Tree tour is a privilege for Mack,” said John Walsh, Mack vice president of marketing. “Our highway trucks are built for jobs like this – oversized cargo, difficult terrain and long distances. We love that Choose Outdoors and the U.S. Forest Service continue to trust the delivery of a national treasure to Mack Trucks year after year and it’s gratifying to see the tree help thousands celebrate the season each December.”