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Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting

December 8, 2009

Speaker Pelosi, joined by the acting architect of the Capitol, members of the Arizona congressional delegation, the governor of Arizona, and 12-year-old Kaitlyn Ferencik of Surprise, AZ, lit the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree during a ceremony tonight:

Capitol Christmas Tree

This year's tree is a 85-foot blue spruce and came from Arizona's Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. As part of the Capitol's continuing commitment to save energy, strands of energy-efficient LED lights were used to decorate the tree.

Speaker Pelosi’s remarks at the Capitol Christmas tree lighting tonight:

Thank you very much, Architect Ayers. The bad news for me is I don't have much of a voice. The good news for you is I am going to speak very briefly. But that is not any indication of the enthusiasm that I have this evening to welcome this beautiful tree from Arizona.

Senator McCain, Governor Brewer, Congresswoman Kirkpatrick, it is my honor to join you in receiving and welcoming Arizona's gift to the Capitol. I take special pride in it because two of my grandchildren live in Arizona and they will be watching for all of this.

I also want to acknowledge the Marine Corps Band who is here and thank them for making such a special evening for us.

As I do so, I want to call your attention — you won't be able to see it — but on the other side of the tree on the Speaker's Balcony, near where the President was inaugurated, are assembled some of our veterans from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital. Congresswoman Kirkpatrick, because of them, we do have liberty and justice for all. Please let's acknowledge their service and sacrifice and that of their families to our country. [Applause.]

I was told by Architect Ayers that today when Kaitlyn [Ferencik] was interviewed by the press, she said that she wanted to be Speaker of the House. So what a coincidence, here we are: a once and future Speaker of the House. I am so delighted that this has been mentioned.

Kaitlyn is a seventh grader from Surprise, Arizona. She and I will now have the privilege of lighting this tree. And I want to let you know that I have much more I would say to you, but I have this cold and my voice is gone. So Merry Christmas and thank you to the Arizona Society for helping to make this such a wonderful evening.

Okay, Kaitlyn. Here we go. You do it.