WASHINGTON. President Joe Biden helped light the National Christmas Tree on Thursday, remembering those killed in the COVID-19 pandemic and paying tribute to the American people for their optimism.
Biden also paid tribute to the military by thanking them for the sacrifices.
“We are a great nation because of you, the American people,” said Biden, who was joined on stage by his wife, First Lady Jill Biden. “You made me so optimistic.”
This was the first time Biden had engaged in a nearly 100 year old tradition in the country’s capital. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff have joined Bidens.
Singer-actor L.L. Cool Jay hosted the program featuring Billy Porter, Chris Stapleton, HER, Christine Chenoweth, Patti Labelle and the Howard University Gospel Choir.
An evergreen tree on the Ellipse, south of the White House, was lit with red and white lights. It is surrounded by smaller trees representing all states and territories of the United States and the District of Columbia. Students from all over the country made decorations to decorate the trees.
The first lighting of the national Christmas tree took place on Christmas Eve 1923.