President Obama is now assured four more merry Christmases in the White House after a hard-fought and bitter campaign. An important holiday fixture in Washington D.C. didn't face nearly as many partisan challenges, but still faces a long road to the nation's capital.
The tree that will grace the U.S. Capitol this year was felled on Nov. 2, 2012, and is on the road. The 73-foot Engleman spruce still has nearly 5,000 miles and three weeks until it arrives in D.C. on Nov. 26. The tree's progress can be tracked online as it wends its way over the rivers and through the woods.
Leaders from the Ute Tribe blessed and honored the tree's life in a ceremony in Meeker, Colorado. The tree was growing in the White River National Forest in the Rocky Mountains.
The Ute leaders noted that the tree is symbolic to their people and other indigenous people. Above all, the Rocky Mountain tribe honored the tree for several reasons according to a statement:
The Tree is on Ute aboriginal lands shared by other migrating tribes who used the forest.
The Tree is a sentinel, a landmark in the forest.
The Tree is strength to the Ute people.
The Tree has provided medicine and food.
The Tree has given wood for fire and shelter from the night.
The Tree has stood proudly for the Ute people and their lifeway.
The 2011 National Christmas Tree and the White House are seen on the Ellipse in Washington, DC, on December 1, 2011. (Corbis)
The 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree (CREDIT: Ted Bechtol, superintendent, Architect of the Capitol)