Ridley Brandmayr, an 11-year-old Bozeman boy, lit the 79-foot (24-meter) tree during a ceremony Wednesday evening. The Engelmann Spruce was cut in November and features 12,500 handmade ornaments.
The tradition started in 1964 when Speaker of the House John McCormack placed a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn. Nowadays, a different National Forest is chosen each year to provide "The People's Tree."
Montana Sen. Jon Tester chose Brandmayr to light the tree because of the boy's perseverance following a kitchen accident in which he lost the fingers on his right hand. Tester lost three fingers when he was a boy.
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