Capitol Christmas tree tour is trucking's time to shine

Jim Ward
Updated Nov 18, 2021
Capitol Christmas tree on a semi
This year, the Six Rivers National Forest in California, in partnership with nonprofit Choose Outdoors, will supply and bring “The People’s Tree” – an 84-foot tall White Fir – to 30 communities across our nation as it makes it way to the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Port congestion. Driver shortage. Issues obtaining truck parts.

From the time you turn on the news or peruse your go-to newspaper each day, the ever-growing list of troubles for those in trucking can appear quite daunting.

Despite the hurdles that we’re currently facing, there are many beacons of light that continue to shine bright.

One program that is gaining traction among the industry and the motoring public throughout our nation is the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, which TCA has proudly supported since 2012. This initiative helps spread holiday cheer to communities and gives positive exposure to our industry through allowing the public to get up close to the rigs hauling the tree and sharing the drivers’ journey through social media and outreach.

For more than 50 years, a Christmas tree has adorned the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season. Since 1970, the tree has been provided by a different national forest each year to create connections to and celebrate our national forests. This year, the Six Rivers National Forest in California, in partnership with nonprofit Choose Outdoors, will supply and bring “The People’s Tree” – an 84-foot tall White Fir – to 30 communities across our nation as it makes it way to the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I’m proud to share that one of these communities is my own. Alongside the Truckload Carriers Association, my company, D.M. Bowman, will host the tree from 4 to 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 16 in front of the Town Hall in our hometown of Williamsport, Maryland.

Helping me welcome the tree to Williamsport will be a very special guest – we’re honored to have the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi in attendance to address the crowd.

The “whistle stop,” a free, family-friendly event, will feature not only the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree pulled by a Kenworth T680 Next Generation wrapped cab, but also a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus; festive balloon animals by a local artist; live remote broadcasts from local AM and FM radio stations spanning into the DC-metro area; three commemorative ornaments for purchase; a hot cocoa station and local food and beverage vendors; a Toys 4 Tots drive and more.

We’re anticipating thousands of event-goers and are looking forward to hosting this piece of history while celebrating the holiday season and the trucking industry.

For those who are not able to attend one of the 30 community events, TCA member company Spireon has done a great job tracking the tree during its 4,000-mile trek with www.capitoltreetracker.com, which provides real-time GPS location tracking of the tree.

After the Williamsport whistle stop, the tree will visit Joint Base Andrews within close proximity to Washington, DC before arriving on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. TCA and several other industry sponsors will be attending the tree lighting festivities on Monday, Nov. 29 and Wednesday, Dec. 1.

“The annual journey is only possible with the help of strong community partnerships throughout California and beyond,” said Choose Outdoors President Bruce Ward. “We’re grateful for the time and resources our partners are providing to help make this the best year yet.”

For more information about TCA’s involvement in the initiative, visit www.truckload.org/CCT.

Be sure to follow TCA on social media networks as they share photos, videos, and updates from the events.

Want to get involved? Contact TCA’s Senior Director of Outreach & Engagement Marli Hall at mhall@truckload.org or (571) 444-0303.

Happy holidays! 

Jim Ward is president of D.M. Bowman, a 382-truck fleet based in Williamsport, Maryland. Under his direction, the company has transitioned from truckload carrier to a full-service transportation company, offering its customers dedicated fleet services, short haul, linehaul, brokerage, logistics and warehousing for dry van, flatbed, bulk and specialty services. Ward is the 2021-2022 chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association.