Counting down from five and with the push of a plunger, Gov. Tom Corbett and first lady Susan Corbett, along with Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley and wife Suzanne and son Nicky, on Tuesday lighted the Christmas tree outside on the front steps to the Capitol as well as a decorated tree in the Capitol Rotunda.
It is the first time since the 1980s the Capitol has had a tree on the front steps, and Corbett said he hopes it will mark a renewed start to that tradition. He said his administration decided to put a tree outside to share the “spirit of peace and friendship with the people of the city and the many visitors” who come to Harrisburg.
In his holiday message, Corbett said, “The Christmas season brings out, I believe, the good in all of us. We think about family. We think about what we have done in the past as we were children growing up. We give to charities. The streets seem friendlier.”
He urged people to take a moment to think of our military and law enforcement personnel, to say a prayer for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and “maybe send a check to the Salvation Army and to the Red Cross if you haven’t done so already.”
He also encouraged Pennsylvanians to remember family members, past and present, and “keep in mind how important they are in your lives. Christmas makes a few demands on us, but the rewards are great. It gives us a chance to keep the Christmas spirit going well into the new year.”
On hand to help with the celebration were the Hanover High School Victorian Singers. They led the large crowd of families with young children, some lawmakers and state workers in singing carols that were highlighted with snow-making machines blowing snowflakes over the crowd on the near 60-degree evening.
The indoor and outdoor Capitol Christmas trees — 22-foot Douglas Firs — were donated by the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association, along with 28 smaller trees that are placed around the Capitol Complex and the Governor’s Residence.