Monday, December 8, 2003
State Capitol Executive Tower Lobby
Every year at the Capitol, we kick off the holiday season by lighting a Christmas tree - the symbol that celebrates the season of giving.
This year, however, the tree is also a symbol of unity and support for all the servicemen and women who will be away from their families during the holidays.
This great tree is actually comprised by 15 smaller pine trees - one for each of Arizona's counties.
We wish to send a message to our troops: Arizonans in all cities, counties and the entire state, stand behind you. We are grateful to you for sacrificing time with your families so that we might enjoy safe and joyous holidays with ours.
And though the tree is symbolic, we literally can communicate our holiday greetings and thanks to our soldiers. My office has set up computers alongside our patriotic tree, and we encourage state employees to stop by during their breaks and lunch hours to send an e-mail message to members of our armed forces who are serving overseas.
This is an opportunity to fill our troops' e-mail boxes with Christmas cards direct from the people of Arizona. It is the chance to tell them, that though they won't be home for Christmas, they will be in our hearts.
Let my holiday message to our soldiers be among the first, as this desert state sends off a blizzard of well wishes.
Thank you all for joining me today to celebrate this season and honor the troops near and far.
I'd also like to thank Christy Boyce, a volunteer from the Arizona National Livestock Show for designing our Capitol tree. Christy has graciously volunteered to decorate our tree for many years now and we appreciate her work.
Thanks also go out to Rovey Tree Farm for loaning us the 15 beautiful Eldercia pine trees for our display.
And of course, as always, we are grateful to all the children from Arizona schools who fill the Capitol lobby with the sounds of music during the month of December.
And now, it is my pleasure to dedicate the 2003 Arizona Capitol Christmas tree.