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National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 2014

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President Barack Obama joined Americans in celebrating the holidays at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, December 4, 2014.

First daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama, helped their father to light the national Christmas tree. They were joined by their mother Michelle, and their maternal grandmother Marian Robinson, as they clustered around the light switch just feet away from the White House

First Lady Michelle Obama read from The Night Before Christmas at the event hosted by Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson.

The major musical performances came from singers Patti LaBelle and Steve Miller.

In his address, President Barack Obama said the national tree is a “symbol of hope and holiday spirit”.National Christmas Tree Lighting 2014

Barack Obama urged Americans to remember members of the U.S. military serving overseas, as well as their families: “As we hold our loved ones tight, let’s remember the military families whose loved ones are far from home.

“They are our heroes.”

There followed performances from artists including singer NE-YO, pop performers Nico & Vinz, The Tenors and Chely Wright.

The 2014 ceremony marks the 92nd annual lighting of the Christmas tree just steps from the White House.

The tradition was started by President Calvin Coolidge in 1923, according to the National Parks Service.

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