Torey Powell, MSW
Chugach National Forest
Partnership & Community Outreach Coordinator
The Capitol Christmas Tree team has spent the last week traveling through the country engaging local communities with an opportunity to be part of the “People’s Tree.” As the week comes to a close I find myself looking back on my week with a new perspective. The week was jam packed with events and festivities each with their own uniqueness. The events that stick out the most for me were our events in Rapid City, South Dakota. As the 2015 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree arrived into Rapid City on Tuesday, motorcycles and riders from the American Legion Riders - Post 22, greeted us, each donned in American flags and red, white, and blue.
Check out the video of our escort into town on the Facebook page
The next day, our Veterans Day festivities were kicked off with a great program put on by the Rapid City Market Square. The activities included an opportunity to sign the Capitol Christmas Tree banner, dancers from a local dance troop, music from Blackwater Railroad Company and of course a Veterans Day Parade.
Check out footage of the Capitol Tree in the Veterans Day Parade.
Normally my Veteran’s Day is spent behind the scenes as part of a planning team for a parade or celebration. Spending the day running around ensuring that everything is perfect for other Veterans. By the end of the day I was typically drained and ready for bed. This Veteran’s Day was the first in a very long time that I was able to be part of the celebration and remember what the day was truly about: Honoring those who served this country with bravery and honor.
Our visit to Rapid City was a reminder of what this project is all about. The People’s Tree belongs to all the people of the United States, including its Veterans and the opportunity to engage Veterans in this project was a reminder of this meaningful perspective.