(Host) The state Christmas Tree was lit this evening in Montpelier. The 32-foot blue spruce was donated by the Clark-Dodge family Jeffersonville.
School children and carolers joined Governor Howard Dean for the ceremony on the Statehouse steps. The governor has presided over the holiday event for the last eleven years.
Speaking to the children just before the tree lighting, the governor said he had just returned from Israel. Dean described visiting sites in Jerusalem that are holy to the three major religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam:
(Dean) “There are an awful lot of people who believe different things, but we all come from the same root. And that’s what I want you to remember in this last Christmas that I’m going to be lighting this tree. So when you read in the papers as you grow older about all the fighting that going on, remember we all come from the same root. And therefore, we celebrate Christmas we need to remember the message of peace and we need to work at that. Thank you very, very much and now we’ll light the tree. Ready? One, two, three!” (Sound of crowd responding with cheers, singing “Silent Night.”)
(Host) After the tree lighting, the governor invited the crowd into the Statehouse for hot cider and cookies.