The National Christmas Tree is an annual tradition that dates back to 1923. It is a massive tree that is cut down and transported to Washington D.C. Each year, a different state is honored to send a massive tree to Washington D.C. President Calvin Coolidge lighted the first official National Christmas Tree in 1923. Since then, the lighting ceremony has become an annual event that attracts visitors worldwide.
For many years, the tree was cut down in a national forest and transported to Washington D.C. by train. These days, however, the tree is usually cut down closer to its final destination and transported by truck. This year's tree, for example, will be cut down in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon and then transported 1,700 miles by truck to Washington D.C.
Hardy Brothers Trucking, Inc. has the honor of transporting this year's tree. The company is based in Eugene, Oregon, just a few hours' drive from the Willamette National Forest. Hardy Brothers have been in business since 1947, and they have been hauling trees to Washington D.C. for the past 20 years.
On November 8th, the tree will be chopped down and carried away on a custom-built trailer designed to protect the tree during its cross-country journey. The trip will take five days, and the tree is expected to arrive in Washington D.C. on November 13th. Doing the honors of delivering the tree for the Hardy Brothers will be the husband-and-wife team Harold "Ed" Kingdon and Norma Jean Kingdon.
The two drivers will take turns at the truck's wheel, a Freightliner Cascadia Evolution hauling a 53-foot trailer. The car and trailer are decorated with lights and will be easy to spot as they make their way across the country. The Kingdons are no strangers to long-haul trucking. They have been driving together for over 30 years and logged more than 4 million miles. According to them, they look forward to the trip and are honored to be a part of it.
"We're just happy to be a small part of something so big," Ed said. The couple will be accompanied on the trip by their dog, Duke. Duke is a 2-year-old black Labrador retriever who loves to ride in the truck and has his special spot on the passenger seat.
The Kingdons say they are excited to see the country and meet the people they will encounter. "We've been trucking for a long time, but this is something different," Norma Jean said. "We're looking forward to it."
The tree will be placed on the west lawn of the Capitol Building and decorated with lights. The official lighting ceremony will take place on December 2nd, and the tree will remain lit until January 1st.
The National Christmas Tree is a symbol of holiday cheer and goodwill, an annual tradition that brings people worldwide together. Thanks to the hard work of truckers like Ed and Norma Jean Kingdon, this year's tree will make its way safely to Washington D.C. and bring a little bit of Christmas magic to the city.