Washington: US President Barack Obama and
the first family lit up the National Christmas tree in a
traditional ceremony, officially marking the start of the
The US president was accompanied by his wife, Michelle,
their two daughters Sasha and Malia, as well as his
mother-in-law, Marian Robinson at the ceremony yesterday.
The First family of the United States, were joined by
Kermit the Frog, puppeteer Jim Henson`s most famous
Muppet creation in lighting the national Christmas tree.
"For 89 years, Presidents and Americans have come
together to light the National Christmas Tree. And this year
is a special one. This year, we have a brand new tree. The
last one stood here for more than 30 years, until we lost it
in a storm earlier this year," Obama said in his remarks at
the ceremony attended by thousands of spectators.
"But we all know that this tradition is much larger than
any single tree. And tonight, once again, we gather here not
simply to light some decorations, but to honour a story that
lights the world," he said.
Children in the audience were thrilled that Kermit was
there and laughed heartily at his jokes. They also sang to all
the Christmas songs they knew, most loudly and cheerfully to
Santa`s rendition of Rudolph.
"More than 2,000 years ago, a child was born to two
faithful travellers who could find rest only in a stable,
among the cattle and the sheep. But this was not just any
child. Christ`s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted
shepherds and kings from afar," Obama said.
"He was a manifestation of God`s love for us. And He grew
up to become a leader with a servant`s heart who taught us a
message as simple as it is powerful: that we should love God,
and love our neighbour as ourselves," the US President said.
"That teaching has come to encircle the globe. It has
endured for generations. And today, it lies at the heart of my
Christian faith and that of millions of Americans. No matter
who we are, or where we come from, or how we worship, it`s a
message that can unite all of us on this holiday season," he
The ceremony marks the 89th holiday tree lighting. The
tradition began with President Calvin Coolidge in 1923.