WASHINGTON – The Obama Family, joined by host Reese Witherspoon, took center stage at President’s Park on Thursday evening to light the National Christmas Tree.
This year’s 93rd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony featured a full line up of musical guests including Fall Out Boy, Tori Kelly, Trombone Shorty, Aloe Blacc and more.
But along with the festive spirit came road closures and heightened security for the event, with surrounding streets and avenues closed off. The event came just one day after a shooting spree in San Bernardino, California left 14 dead.
“Now, this is, of course, the most wonderful time of the year,” President Barack Obama said at the ceremony. “But we would be remiss not to take a moment to remember our fellow Americans whose hearts are heavy tonight – who grieve for loved ones, especially in San Bernardino, California. Their loss is our loss, too, for we’re all one American family.”
The lighting of the tree is the symbolic start to the holiday season in the nation’s capital. On Wednesday evening, the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree was also lit, giving the city a joyous glow that is now on display at each prominent landmark.
“So during this holiday season, let’s come together as brothers and sisters around the humanity that we share,” Obama said in his concluding remarks. “Let’s reach out to those who can use a hand. Let’s summon the spirit of togetherness that’s always helped to kindle America’s shining example to the world.”
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Download photos: NationalTreeLighting2015.zip