Why the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is Cut Down Each Year

The U.S. Capitol tree was once a Douglas fir planted on the West Front Lawn.

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The annual display of the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is a popular attraction. But it's also a bit sad that one of the nation's oldest is felled for a month of work on the West Front Lawn. It wasn't always this way. Back in 1963, a 24-foot Douglas fir was planted, but a bad storm and root damage killed it five years later. Since 1970, the "People's Tree" has been selected from different states. So why not try a live tree again? Officials say root damage from the crowd-crushing July 4 concerts and inaugurations spells certain death.

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