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TCA Sponsors “Whistle Stops” as the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Travels the Country
Special events will spotlight the trucking industry to those viewing the tree in local towns and cities
Representing one of the most patriotic industries in the country, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is proud to announce it will sponsor the Capitol Christmas Tree for a second time. The transportation of the immense tree from its home forest to the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., is an annual tradition that began some 50 years ago. This year, it is traveling some 5,000+ miles from the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington State, making “whistle stops” at local communities and military bases along the way. TCA will sponsor two of the stops to spotlight the way the tree is traveling – by 18-wheeler – and to promote the trucking industry to everyone in attendance.
“Trucking is an industry based on family and community, which is what ‘The People’s Tree’ is all about,” said Tom Kretsinger, Jr., president of American Central Transport, Inc., Liberty, Missouri, and the chairman of TCA. “We’re all proud to play a role in transporting this symbol of American ideals, so this project is a natural fit for us.”
The 88-ft. Engelmann Spruce was harvested November 1st. It was specially wrapped for its long journey via a custom-built, Mack® Pinnacle™ truck. Over 3½ weeks, it will be brought to various towns and cities so that all citizens from across the U.S. can enjoy the tree, even if they cannot personally visit the Capitol Building. Participants will be able to view the tree and the truck hauling it, as well as sign the banners that line the trailer housing the tree.
Randall-Reilly and Red Eye Radio will join TCA in sponsoring the whistle stops, the first of which takes place on November 18th in Dallas, Texas. From 4-5:30 p.m. CST, people can view the tree in the Victory Plaza area of the American Airlines Center prior to the Dallas Mavericks’ tip-off against the Philadelphia 76ers. Activities include a photo montage of the journey of this year’s and last year’s trees shown on several big screens.
The second event will take place November 20th in Nashville, Tennessee. Here, participants will enjoy performances by Lindsay Lawler, country music singer and TCA’s Highway Angel program spokesperson, and award-winning country and Christian music band Diamond Rio. Also, Starbucks will give away free coffee, hot chocolate, and cider. The whistle stop takes place in the Macy's parking lot of CoolSprings Galleria from 3:30-5:30 p.m. CST.
At both whistle stops, trucking’s role in the transportation of the tree will be highlighted. Visitors can take home a free copy of Milemarkers and Memories, a first-person account of the trucking industry’s role in transporting the tree, as written by former U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who drove the tree last year.
Once the tree reaches Washington, D.C., it will be adorned by more than 6,000 ornaments made by Washington schoolchildren. According to Jennifer Knutson, 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree coordinator, “This is a great project, and we are proud to ‘Share Washington’s Good Nature’ with the rest of the U.S. The trucking system in our nation is the lifeline of our commerce, and hauling a tree across the country highlights how that work gets done every day. We have amazing drivers with us that are able to overcome all kinds of obstacles; they are my heroes today,” she said.
The official tree lighting ceremony, officiated by House Speaker John Boehner, is scheduled for Tuesday, December 3, 2013. Lindsay Lawler will perform the official Capitol Christmas Tree song, "Standing Tall," written for the 2012 lighting ceremony by herself and Warner Chappell writer Chris Roberts. After the lighting ceremony, the Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit nightly from dusk to 11 p.m. throughout the holiday season.