Udall Delivers Remarks At U.S. Capitol Tree Lighting

New Mexico delegation to light this year’s US Capitol Christmas Tree from the land of enchantment. Courtesy photo
 
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall. Courtesy photo
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) delivered remarks at the official lighting ceremony for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.
 
This year’s Capitol Christmas Tree, also known as the ‘People’s Tree,’ is a 60-foot blue spruce from Carson National Forest in New Mexico. The People’s Tree is adorned with over 10,000 ornaments handcrafted by New Mexican schoolchildren and community members to reflect the state’s culture, history, landscapes, and wildlife.
 
“New Mexico is immensely honored that this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree comes from our state: from the Land of Enchantment – now enchanting the entire nation,” Udall said during the lighting ceremony. “As we delight in the beauty of the tree before us, let us also appreciate the beauty and majesty of our public lands. Let us recommit ourselves to protecting this natural heritage of ours. This tree from New Mexico now brings light to the nation’s capital, lighting the nation with values New Mexicans hold dear: love, diversity, and a celebration of one another… New Mexico is a proud multicultural state. Our diversity does not divide us. It defines us.”
 
“As we look upon this great tree, a tree rooted in our great state, let us all remember the strength we achieve when all cultures, races, religions, and people in our nation are united,” Udall said.
 
Udall was joined by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the full New Mexico congressional delegation – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) – as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Architect of the Capitol, Thomas J. Carroll III.
 
Following Udall’s remarks, Chevel Shepherd, a native New Mexican and 2018 winner of NBC’s The Voice, performed a rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
 
Asher Dean, a fourth-grader from Arroyo Seco, New Mexico and winner of the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Essay Contest, lit the tree to conclude the ceremony. 
 
Udall’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
 
I’m Tom Udall – and I proudly represent New Mexico in the United States Senate.
 
New Mexico is immensely honored that this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree – the “People’s Tree” – comes from our state. From the Land of Enchantment – now enchanting the entire nation.
 
This 68-year old, magnificent, 60-foot blue spruce tree has traveled 2,000 miles across this nation, from Carson National Forest in Northern New Mexico, to our nation’s capital. 
 
Carson boasts some of the finest mountain scenery in the nation — with rugged mountains and peaks, covered with pin͂on, juniper, aspen and, of course, spruce.
 
For almost 50 years – our national forests have provided the tree that stands tall on the Capitol lawn during the holiday season. From Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont, to Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota, to Klamath National Forest in California, evergreens from our public lands have stood here as a symbol of warmth, giving, and the bounty of this great nation.
 
As we delight in the beauty of the tree before us, let us also appreciate the beauty and majesty of our public lands. Let us recommit ourselves to protecting this natural heritage of ours.
 
This tree from New Mexico now brings light to the nation’s capital, lighting the nation with values New Mexicans hold dear: love, diversity, and a celebration of one another.
 
This is a time of celebration for many traditions – Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas.
 
New Mexico is a proud multicultural state. Our diversity does not divide us. It defines us.
 
We are enriched by the traditions of many cultures. Farolitos or luminarias – depending on which part of our state you hale from: these paper lanterns twinkle along our adobe walls and pathways at night. Native American Pueblos celebrate feast days with magical and mesmerizing dances. The music of Mariachis fills the air.
 
In our state, we honor the Zia symbol on our flag. The symbol represents our “perfect friendship among united cultures.”
 
Let’s take that in:  our “perfect friendship among united cultures.”
 
As we look upon this great tree, a tree rooted in our great state, let us all remember the strength we achieve when all cultures, races, religions, and people in our nation are united.
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