Troops remembered at tree lighting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Special to the Journal

Governor Bob Riley was joined by First Lady Patsy Riley, members of the Garden Club of Alabama and Alabama National Guard troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan at the lighting ceremony for the state’s Christmas tree on the steps of the State Capitol.

26,000 lights decorate the 35-foot tall Eastern Red Cedar that was grown in Montgomery County and donated to the state.

“Every light on the tree is a prayer for peace,” said Governor Riley, reflecting the event’s annual theme.

Alabama’s contribution to the War on Terror was also highlighted during the ceremony, as National Guard soldiers home from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan were honored.

“Those who serve America can know that we love them, we’re praying for them and we’re grateful to them.

We’re also very proud of them and what they’re doing,” said Governor Riley.

Santa Claus paid a visit with his traveling workshop to help the Governor and U.S. Marines distribute toys to children as part of the “Toys for Tots” campaign.

Each child under the age of 12 who attended the Christmas tree lighting ceremony received a present.

Singers from Dalraida United Methodist Church and the Reverend Warren Culver of Capitol Heights Baptist Church in Montgomery took part in the ceremony.

The Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Capitol was started in 1950 by the Garden Club of Alabama.