On Thursday (December 2), recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee LL Cool J hosted the 99th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting in Washington D.C.
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The event, which first began in 1923, will be broadcast nationwide on Sunday, December 5 (see times below) and viewers will see performances by some of music’s biggest names, including Chris Stapleton, H.E.R., Kristin Chenoweth, Patti LaBelle, and more.
In attendance for the ceremony on Thursday were President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. The President helped light the tree and also paid tribute to the U.S. military and service workers. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, were also in attendance.
“We are a great nation because of you, the American people,” Biden said. “You’ve made me so optimistic.”
The Associated Press reported: “The evergreen tree on the Ellipse, just south of the White House, was lit up in red and white lights. It is surrounded by smaller trees representing every U.S. state and territory and the District of Columbia. Students from across the country made the ornaments used to decorate the trees.”
The tree lighting show will be broadcast for the first time on the CBS Television Network this year on Sunday at 8:30-9:30 PM ET and 8:00-9:00 PM PT.
Speaking to CBS on Thursday morning before the tree lighting, the 53-year-old New York-born LL Cool J said, “It’s been almost a year and a half or two of us being stuck inside and people not really being able to feel close to one another and I think it’s nice to bring that joy to the country. That’s why I wanted to do it!”
LL Cool J tweeted about the event, sharing CBS’ tweet, which said, “Current status: LIT. @llcoolj hosts the #NationalTreeLighting featuring performances by @theebillyporter, @ChrisStapleton, @HERMusicx, @Juanes, @kebmomusic, @KChenoweth, @MarenMorris, and @MsPattiPatti THIS Sunday on CBS.”
Photo by Becky Fluke / Sacks & Co