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(Editor’s note: This is the 10th and last in a series of articles written by Adrianne Lang, 14, of Lebanon, who, with her grandparents Will and Lynne Tucker followed the Capitol Christmas Tree from Sweet Home to Washington, D.C.)

On Thursday, my family and I were delighted to attend the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting.

After all the hard work to coordinate this event and then the travel to get to Washington D.C., the climax of the People’s Tree’s journey was completed.

When we arrived at the west lawn of the Capitol, I was surprised because we were very close to the tree. I had thought that we would be stuck in a sea of people, standing on our tiptoes to try to get a glimpse of the tree. Instead, we were so close that I could see the details on individual ornaments.

As the sky darkened, the U.S. Navy Band played Christmas carols. Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley, Rep. Peter DeFazio and Rep. Paul Ryan, speaker of the House, were all present and all gave speeches about the amazing honor it was for Oregon to provide the Capitol Christmas Tree this year.

Ryan made Oregon residents laugh when he said that Wyden made him practice pronouncing important words like "Oregon" and "Willamette." When Speaker Ryan and Brigette Harrington (a Hillsboro fourth-grader) lit the Christmas tree, it looked so beautiful next to the illuminated Capitol.

It looked like a Christmas card.

After the Christmas tree lighting, my family and I had the honor of attending the congressional reception hosted by Choose Outdoors and Sen. Wyden, which was my first cocktail party. It was held in the United States Botanical Gardens.

I was excited to see Wyden again, and he remembered that I was writing for the newspaper. He said that I must be “a media celebrity” now and he asked if he could say that he knew me. I laughed and asked if I could say that I knew him.

I had fun walking around the gardens, which all had different themes like desert, Mediterranean, and Hawaiian, to name a few. There was even a garden with model train stations from around America. Sadly, there wasn’t one from Oregon. There was also a garden with lovely red poinsettias.

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Looking back on this journey, my family and I have been so blessed to have seen so many interesting historic sites and to have made so many fun memories. I am thankful that my grandpa, Will Tucker, is one of the commissioners of Linn County and to see him so proudly representing our county. I am so glad that he invited us to go along on this trip.

My favorite things that we saw in D.C. were the National Gallery of Art and the Library of Congress. I have learned lots of new things about our beautiful country.

On Friday, my family and I began the long trek home. We’re crossing our fingers that we don’t hit bad weather and hope to be home in about a week.

Home or bust!

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Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.

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