Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi was joined by Members of the Montana congressional delegation and the governor of Montana to light the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree during a ceremony this evening. Below are the Speaker remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Senator Baucus for that kind introduction.
“Thank you as well to Governor Schweitzer, Senator Tester, Congressman Rehberg, and the people of Montana for bringing us this magnificent subalpine fir to serve as our United States Capitol Christmas tree.
“I also want to thank the wonderful United States Army Band and the Montana A Cappella Society for providing such beautiful music to put us in the holiday spirit.
“Please also join me in welcoming the many American heroes who have joined us from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital who have joined us and are watching the ceremony from the Speaker's balcony. We thank them today, as we do every day, for their service to America.
“This year, we are joined a remarkable young man who will help me light the 2008 Capitol Christmas Tree, Chris Gabrielson, who is a student at Sunnyside Primary School in Havre, Montana.
“This tree is trimmed with young people like Chris in mind because it continues our commitment to Greening the Capitol to fight global warming. Our tree uses energy efficient LED lights and when the holiday season ends the tree's mulch will be used here on the Capitol Grounds.
“The roughly 5,000 ornaments that Chris and his fellow Montanans hand-crafted will also be reused and donated to local charities.
“I want to thank Acting Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers and Deputy Undersecretary Melissa Simpson for working together to select and decorate this year's tree.
“The holidays are a time to join with family and friends and to celebrate the many blessings bestowed on us. We should also say a prayer this holiday season that the peace we hope for ourselves and for our families is visited upon all the people of the world.
“There is nothing more beautiful than the excitement of children, both young and old, as a decorated tree is lit for the first time.
“So, with Chris' help, let us light the Capitol Christmas Tree.”